NOTE: This article does contain some strong language (as you might expect).
I am a fan of Matt Stone and Trey Parker with their particular brand of humour – satire mixed with fart-jokes. When Team America: World Police came out in 2004, I watched it in the theatre about 6 times because it was not only a good film but really, really funny.
The movie (which features an all marionette cast) has the main character Gary, a top actor with a degree in theatre and world languages, being recruited after the death of Team America’s top agent. No one on the team really thinks he is capable of helping them of stopping an imminent terrorist attack despite being layered in black-face and fake facial hair to make him look more like a terrorist. Fortunately, Gary knows how to speak many world languages and is such an amazing actor he blends right in. After proving himself to the team, they feel unstoppable until the terrorist attack happens anyway. Unknown to them, North Korean leader Kim Jong-il is behind everything. Once the team is captured by him, it is up to Gary to save his friends and stop a global attack before the ticking clock goes to zero. In short, a run of the mill action blockbuster!
This plot may sound familiar because you have seen it hundreds of times, but Stone and Parker are able to target these action tropes better than anyone in Team America can shoot. The best part of any comedy is to not act funny but to commit to the material no matter how ridiculous it is – this is where the laughs really are, and this is something the movie does in spades. The dialogue can be so OTT ridiculous you cannot help but laugh. Not because it is so stupid, but because you have seen it so many times and bought into it despite knowing in your head how silly it really is. No one talks like this, ever!
The film takes no prisoners in who it targets as well, be it Kim Jong-il singing a song about how ronery (lonely) he is or making Liberal Hollywood out to be tools in the Film Actors Guild (FAG). They even make fun of the United States’ occasionally bipolar, incoherent and at times excessive foreign policy as you would expect. I particularly enjoy how every location is measured in relation to how far it is from the United States, as though the centre of the world begins there. Of course, Stone and Parker are not out to say ‘America Sucks’. Rather, it is to make fun of both sides of the political spectrum (if you could call this film political, I do not think it is). Their views are best conveyed in the final scene as Gary explains how Team America can be violent, reckless, arrogant dicks, but the Film Actors Guild are a bunch of pussies, and Kim Jong-il is an asshole. To deal with pussies and assholes you need to be a dick, but pussies need to be there to remind you when you are fucking around too much. Vulgar, but poignant.
There are many other ridiculously hilarious scenes: the sex scene between Gary and Sarah, seeing how the UN deals with people by writing a strongly worded letter and of course the action spectacle at the end of the film. Even after having watched this film so many times and knowing every part of it, I still find it both funny and entertaining to watch.
If you are not a fan of Parker and Stone then you will probably not like this film. On the other hand, if you have a sense of humour then you will be right on board with their vulgar satire. The film is not only entertaining and very funny in its own right, but it also features sharp satire which makes it all the more hilarious to watch.