Director: Trey Parker
Year Released: 2004
A film in overlapping - and at times problematic - quarters: one part hilarious, one part creative, one part criminally jejune and one part contradictory. Since "Team America" (the "good guys") is a buffed-up stand in for the Republican administration, we're supposed to both empathize with their desire to eliminate the babbling 'terrorists' and laugh at their recklessness (they blow up countless international landmarks) ... although you can't accuse it of being on any particular 'side' - the real thrills are to be found in the elaborate and graphic deaths of Hollywood actors who may not be intelligent but mean well (Matt Damon, the smartest of the lot in reality, is only capable of saying his own name caveman-style). In trying to please everyone by merely looking in from the bleachers and booing, it pleases no one; in giving mixed messages about who is 'good' and who is 'bad,' it prefers to declare everyone wrong, leaving the feeling that all is pointless and we're going nowhere fast (Ebert accused Parker and Stone as being nihilists, and for this film I agree - the South Park TV show, on the other hand, does allow for a slim glimmer of hope every once in a while). As with the far superior - and (believe it or not) more clear-headed - South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut, the songs are the best part, like the mock-triumphant "America - Fuck Yeah" and Kim Jong-Il's big moment, "I'm So Ronery."