It’s been a long time since a comedy had me fearing for the seat I was sitting on, but watching a rabid assortment of soap-jawed marionettes solemnly swear, spew, and besmirch the civilised world under the bomb(t)astic rubrick of the Bush administration’s ‘war on terror’, I really got the willies. I understand this ranks me as a reactionary running-dog and impressionable delinquent – but at least I kept the chair clean.
The missing – and debatably sarcastic – link between Washington’s special-ops ideal and Gerry Anderson’s prelapsarian Thunderbirds, Team America are a cracked terrorist-fighting task force whose defiance of WMD-toting mullahs tends to leave the likes of Paris and the Pyramids wasted anyway.
and his ‘South Park’ accomplice
sift through this ostensible contradiction in the accompanying rock anthem ‘America: Fuck Yeah!’
More candid than the sniggering schoolboy politics is Parker’s justifiable pride in how his painstaking (and often painstakingly crude) puppetry shows up the human performers in live-action Jerry Bruckheimer-style jingoist extravaganzas, as elaborated in the serenade ‘I Miss You (And ‘Pearl Harbor’ Sucked)’. Team America recruit a Broadway heartthrob to infiltrate the evil-doers, and discover a fifth column of hand-wringing Hollywood liberals in league with North Korea’s crazed leader Kim Jong II.
Better sustained than the ‘South Park’ movie, ‘Team America’ delivers both spot-on movie deconstruction and gleeful destruction. It also teaches that there are different levels of piss-taking. The film might send up American war-mongers’ cartoonish world-view – a world of ‘dicks, pussies and assholes’ – but the joke’s still on the pussies.