January 14, 2005

"Team America: World Police" Captures the Mood

Not surprisingly, "Team America: World Police" makes Movie-of-the-Week at the Guardian. To ken why this Labour paper should be so fond of Trey Parker's and Matt Stone's skewering of the American Left in its shambolic lead-up to the re-election of George W. Bush, read Peter Bradshaw's spot-on review.

Team America: World Police brilliantly captures this complex contemporary mood, telling you more about America than Fox News, salon.com and the New York Times combined. It is a jaw-droppingly bizarre puppet show from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the creators of South Park, and its style is taken (though I am sorry to say without a word of thanks or acknowledgement) from Britain's cult TV show Thunderbirds.

Our heroes are an elite A-team of potty-mouthed tough-guy superheroes with strings attached and a jauntily wooden way of walking, who cruise around the globe in their fleet of helicopters and hi-tech pursuit vehicles, kicking terrorist ass. Soon they have to confront a world-threatening conspiracy, masterminded by North Korea's Kim Jong-il, manipulating the useful idiots - the puppets, if you will - on the moderate showbiz left.

Parker and Stone gleefully pull the pin from their comedy grenade, and the result is an explosion of hilarious bad taste and ambiguous political satire. Everyone is sprayed with shrapnel, from gung-ho patriots to mealy-mouthed pantywaist liberals, and a special kicking is given to Hollywood itself and its bleeding-heart aristocracy: Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon and even, heaven forgive them, the documentary film-maker Michael Moore. The entire acting profession, in fact, is washed away in a river of bile - and the offence given to them is somehow, well, more offensive considering that the creators have used puppets rather than flesh-and-blood thesps.

One wonders how this piece of brilliance is playing on the Rive Gauche?


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