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</script></div>{/googleAds}While watching the latest cinematic offering from South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, I couldn't shake a nagging question that, like a bad case of indigestion, just wouldn't go away. As the film's offensive images and obscene dialogue continued a full frontal assault on the auditorium, I couldn't help but ask, "is it OK to laugh at this?" "Will I go to Hell for providing encouragement to such mean-spirited high jinks?" I hope not, because without question, many of these skits are the funniest film moments of the year. However after the first 30-minutes or so, the bit began to grow old. It became clear that literally everyone was a target, from North Korean leader Kim Jong-Il to Hollywood's Matt Damon and all races, creeds, colors, and affiliations in between. And that's kind of the problem. With such abundant game and with such a full quiver of ammo, Team America: World Police fails to solidify its message, preferring to fire indiscriminately in all directions. Parker and Stone don't realize that with the freedom to ridicule so judiciously, also comes the responsibility to do so with a point or purpose. Otherwise you risk coming off as nothing more than an irreverent junior high skit with pure meanness and insensitivity as your destination.

The film's title refers to an elite team of American commandos based inside Mount Rushmore that takes upon itself the task of ridding the world of terrorism. However, along with the targeted terrorists, the team also manages to destroy many of the world's great landmarks including the Eiffel Tower, The Louvre, and The Sphinx.

As the terrorists begin to get the upper hand, it becomes clear to team leader Spottswoode that a secret weapon is needed. Enter Gary Johnston, an actor in Broadway's big hit "Lease", who is more at home singing the play's musical number "Everybody Has AIDS!" than he is tracking terrorists. But after a semi-botched (or semi-successful, depending on how you look at it) plastic surgery aimed at giving him Middle Eastern facial features, Johnston plans to "act" his way into the inner sanctum of the terrorists. Team America eventually discovers that the terrorists are funded by North Korean leader Kim Jon-Il, who is characterized by the extremely stereotypical inability to pronounce "lonely."

As the plot rolls along, Parker and Stone continue their assault on an endless parade of seemingly innocent victims. I say "seemingly" innocent because it eventually becomes clear that no one is safe from Stone and Parker's hateful jabs, not even the rather benign Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.) representative Matt Damon.

The jokes are more successful when they come from a place of deeper sophistication however. Although I did laugh at puppet vomit, marionette nudity, and silly obscenities, the musical gags were far funnier and tended to stay with me longer. Although a bit "out there", there's just something inherently funny about comparing your love for someone with how much Bruckheimer's Pearl Harbor sucked.

It might have worked better as a film short, or perhaps it should have been chopped by about 30 minutes, but most of Team America's juvenile humor just became too repetitive and was eventually only able to garner a few giggles later in the movie. But probably what killed it for me was the fact that Parker and Stone failed to nail down a specific motive for their vicious barrage. The topics they attacked were not particularly heady ones nor did they attempt to provide any answers to the problems they brought to light. Attacking without purpose is like shooting fish in a barrel...just a bit too easy.


DVD Details:

Screen formats: Widescreen anamorphic 2.35:1

Subtitles: English, Spanish; Closed Captioned

Language and Sound: English: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo; French: Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo

Other Features: Color; interactive menus; scene access; trailers; deleted scenes and outtakes; featurettes; storyboards.

* Commentaries:
o 5-minute introduction to the film with creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.
* Featurettes:
o "Building the World" - 12 mins.
o "Crafting the Puppets" - 8 mins.
o "Pulling the Strings" - 10 mins.
o "Capturing the Action" - 7 mins.
o "Miniature Pyrotechnics" - 5 mins.
o "Up Close and Personal with Kim Jong Il" - 5 mins.
o "Dressing Room Test" - 2 mins.
* Deleted Scenes: Total of 10 deleted/extended scenes.
* Trailer: 2 theatrical trailers for Team America: World Police plus forced trailers before DVD menu.
* Gallery of Stills - 12 min. slideshow of 6 animated story boards and text/photos.

Number of discs: 1 - Keepcase packaging.