Brief Review: Team America: World Police (2004)

Nothing is safe in this effective but opinion-polarising parody.  Team America pokes fun at everything from global stereotypes, to USA’s foreign policy, to anything even slightly left of right-wing politics.  It’s an all-out war on political correctness, and its weapon of choice is bad taste. You’ll either be offended or you’ll laugh your arse off.

A counter-terrorism group – Team America – recruit a stage actor, Gary Johnston (voiced by Trey Parker), to infiltrate a terrorist group.  Instead of thwarting their plans, however, Team America’s ineptness inadvertently causes widespread chaos.

Strangely enough, Team America may be more entertaining for a non-American audience. The titular anti-terrorism group comes across as arrogant,  unintentional saboteurs with their clumsy and unwelcome interference, eerily reminiscent of stereotypes of the States held by some parts of the world.

In an attempt to parody everything, Team America suffers from a lack of focus.  It’s a political satire that leans heavily to one side; it pokes fun at American patriotism but proudly waves the flag; it’s a puppet movie with salacious content – which, admittedly, is hilarious.  This constant clash of opposites holds Team America back.

It’s a shame because there is a genuinely good satire here, albeit buried beneath countless layers of excessively infantile humour.  Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy daft, juvenile humour as much as the next person, but there’s a point in Team America where it becomes overwhelming.  It eventually abandons all attempts at satire and tries to be as offensive as possible.

Team America is loud, crass, unashamedly offensive and full of the puerile humour that we have come to expect from creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone.  If you liked their previous works, most notably South Park, then you’ll enjoy this immensely.  If you’re easily offended, however, then you’d be better off giving this one a miss.



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