Running Time: 107 mins.
TEAM AMERICA is parody of a Hollywood action/thriller starring a cast of marionettes. Yes, marionettes. Those jointed, wooden puppets that you move with strings. The film is offensive. And it's supposed to be offensive. It's also supposed to be funny, but it isnot funny, at least after the amusingidea of an all-marionette action flick begins to wear thin -- which is after about 5 minutes.
Of course, if you are an 15-year old boy and you like toilet humour and base sexual references, then this film is for you. Or if you were to giggle if I were to mention the characters all swear like seamen, then, again, this film is for you.
Team America is a group of overly armed, none too bright, super cops who manage to destroy more than they save in their battles with terrorists.
Discredited by a group of leftist Hollywood actors, Team America must reclaim their image to stop Kim Jong Il of North Korea from taking over the world like some puppet Dr No.
I will admit that I am 50-50 on the work of Parker and Stone. These two are responsible for the animated televisionseries,South Park, which is often darkly funny, sardonic and smart. It is just as often completely vulgar and inane. But what is most disappointing about Team America is not that it is intentionally low brow and disgusting -- one of the funniest set pieces in the film is an extremely graphic love scene between two puppets -- but that it is redundant and boring. Most of the jokes are barely funny once, and certainly lose any potential for humor in their eighth or ninth outing.
In case the point isn't obvious at this point (in which case, the film might appeal to you), Team America is not appropriate for children. It's not appropriate full stop. But don't be fooled by the puppets. The humour is very adult (even if childishly so).
Harden Grace is an Associate of the Australian Catholic Film Office.