Taking One For The Team
LAist wasn't quite sure what to make of Trey Parker, Matt Stone and their patriotic puppets when we first got wind of Team America: World Police earlier this year, but after catching an early screening last night at the Paramount lot, we may just have to take one for the team.
In addition to the language, violent situations, and insensitive commentary most will expect from the creators of "South Park", Team America: World Police takes the time to throw in a few musical numbers, including the rousing call to arms, "America, F*ck Yeah!", a musical swipe at Michael Bay and his "really bad movie" Pearl Harbor and a particularly touching ballad as sung by Kim Jong-il called "I'm So Ronery [Lonely]."
Acted entirely by 22 inch high puppets with extremely expressive faces, the film lampoons every single Hollywood blockbuster you've ever seen while making its own commentary about the current state of affairs in regards to worldwide terrorism. But even larger, surprisingly, is Team America's hatred for the outspoken sect of Hollywood's political elite.
From making Alec Baldwin the head of the "Film Actors Guild (FAG)" to appointing Tim Robbins and Susan Sarandon as his right hand man/woman - Team America takes even more pot shots at actors and actresses than the terrorists themselves. Perhaps it is Team America's belief that actors who have previously never even voted (ahem, Affleck) and those who seem to do it to invigorate their Hollywood careers (ahem, Baldwin) may even be worse than WMD's themselves.
The "evil" Hollywood puppets of Team America, which include (but are not limited to) people like Sean Penn, Helen Hunt, Matt Damon, Ethan Hawke, Martin Sheen and Samuel L. Jackson have surprisingly not caused too much of a publicity nightmare for their real-life counterparts until earlier this week when Sean Penn drafted a scathing letter to the film's creators (thanks, Drudge) expressing his distaste for their opinions until they've experienced the situation for real.
In the end, Team America: World Police isn't going to affect the world as seriously as Sean Penn thinks it might, and that may have something to do with the fact that its terrorist-fighting machine is, well, only puppets. But as LAist realized yesterday, these puppets are not only realistic, engaging and attractive but they've got some very compelling arguments about the state of the world. They're smart. These wooden, robotic, expressive puppets are smart.
And if that bores you, never fear. They also get drunk, have sex and throw up just like real people, too.