Monday, October 18, 2004
# Posted 2:56 PM by Ariel David Adesnik
In the Weekly Standard, Jon Last warns his fellow critics not to pretend that this film is mostly about politics. Above all, what Parker & Stone want is to satirize the formulaic blockbusters that Hollywood churns out on a regular basis.
Last's instinct has been confirmed by Matt Stone himself, who told the WaPo that
"People are saying that [Team America is] about politics...It's aSomehow, the Post's film critics didn't get the message. Demonstrating an incomparable penchant for condescension and ignorance, Hank Stuever writes that:
Stunned by all the fun, I am almost moved to salute Parker and Stone for their nuanced and careful takedown of American jingoism and the seemingly disastrous foreign policy that Team America stands for.Fellow WaPo critic Desson Thomson applauds the film for it's merciless take-down of
Plain old couch-potato us and our perception of the post-9/11 world thanks to a composite prism of fear, cultural ignorance and government spin. Filmmakers Trey Parker and Matt Stone, creators of "South Park," are holding up a mirror to our worst sides and making us laugh hysterically for the privilege.Ironically, liberal critics such as Stuever & Thomson are actually the butt of Parker & Stone's toughest jokes. As the very-liberal-but-much-less-ignorant A.O. Scott points out in the NY Times, Parker & Stone
Expend most of their spoofy energy sending up action-movie conventions and over-the-top patriotic bluster, reserving their real satiric venom for self-righteous Hollywood liberals (with special attention to Alec Baldwin)The victims of Team America's satire seem to have gotten the message. Sean Penn -- one of Kim Jong Il's principal collaborators in the film -- denounced Team America for
"Encourag[ing] irresponsibility that will ultimately lead to the disembowelment, mutilation, exploitation, and death of innocent people throughout the world."As far as I can tell, Penn's comments are sincere and not a self-deprecating parody of his left-wing views.
Even though Jon Last is right to insist that Team America is more about Hollywood than it is about Washington, I think that A.O. Scott just happens to be right when he says that the climactic speech at the end of the film represents
One of the more cogent — and, dare I say it, more nuanced — defenses of American military power that I have heard recently.I would tell you what that cogent defense is, but I don't want to ruin the surprise for those of you who haven't seen the film. I'll just say that for those of you who enjoy both South Park and foreign policy, ten bucks is a bargain for the entertainment that Team America provides.
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