Trey Parker and Matt Stone once explained in an episode of Charlie Rose that they’d never reveal their religious or political affiliations, because they didn’t want to alienate their audience. But “Team America” is an indictment of literally every issue under the sun, from Hollywood, to the government, to Bruckheimer films, right down to crappy shows like RENT. “Team America” is at its best though when it spoofs not only Bruckheimer’s insanely over the top films, but when it spoofs blind patriotism.
Parker and Stone’s film is also funniest when jabbing at Hollywood liberalism portraying many of the Hollywood liberal elite as numb-skulled, elitist morons whom are fooled in to a false plan by the hilariously spoofed Kim Jong Il. “Team America” in all its well-intentioned spoofing is never as clever as it thinks it is. Parker and Stone in all their abilities and resources, never look as innovational and ahead of their time as they think they do. With a weekly show in which they spoof anything and everything under the sun, it’s hard to tackle anything fresh or new, so “Team America” really just treads over old material. Spoofing the idiocy of RENT, Michael Moore, and Right Wingers? Been done. Most of the jokes in “Team America” are really just hit and miss; especially the “political satire”, which often fell flat.
Whether it’s the RENT spoof with the song “Everyone has AIDS”, to a musical montage about how freedom isn’t free, and the Film Actor’s Guild being spelled F.A.G., the jokes just feel flat because they feel re-fried by the very guys who take such delight in doling them out week after week. “Team America” is often funny, just not as funny as it makes itself out to be from the beginning. Their film is not based around Parker and Stone picking on every issue and showing its stupidity, their film is really just two people with a carte blanche on issues that they try to tackle in such a short amount of time. It’s not about whom they want to attack and putting them in their places, but how many people they can attack as possible in the running time, only for the mere shock effect. But when it isn’t trying to make a political statement, it sure is a lot of fun. Mostly with its portrayals of its heroes as beefed up, cocky, ignoramuses who go head first into a situation and do more harm than good.
The original plan for “Team America” was to remake the really bad “Armageddon” but with puppets, but Parker and Stone really create a much better film by spoofing Bruckheimer, and they do it in the most deadpan sense. Whether it’s the terrorists speaking in an odd blather, or the heroes shouting idiotic statements to one another, “Team America” is pretty damn fun. And Parker and Stone delight in giving us truly funny one-liners that will leave its audience quoting it to one another for days. “Team America” starts off with a bang and manages to make its message known loud and clear. I expected much more from Stone and Parker, I have to admit. “Team America” while entertaining, really thinks it’s leading the pack in terms of jabs at politics and Hollywood. When it’s not beating us over the head with “clever political satire”, it can be a fun film.