Sunday, October 17, 2004

Team America

Team America: World of Diminishing Returns!

Oh, I wanted to love you, Team America, but you seemed insistent on not being very funny. Don't get me wrong, the movie starts out brilliantly, with a great Bruckheimer parody immediately followed by a Rent parody featuring the song "Everyone Has AIDS!" which perfectly lampoons Rent's tendency to repeat the word "rent" in its lyrics about fifty times too many.

Honestly, the movie's biggest misstep is to try and tackle those Hollywood actors it seems so intent on dismembering. The movie shifts from parodying action movies to calling Alec Baldwin and friends fags. The comedy's just not as smart. Like the bloodbath at the end. A puppet getting shot isn't itself funny, there has to be something funny about the shooting. A great example is elsewhere in the film, when puppet hero Gary drinks to much and starts puking. And puking and puking. At first, it's not that funny, but then the puke starts spraying out of him like a high pressure hose, and the joke starts working. His vomiting isn't funny, but the way he vomits is. I'd be less critical of this if the last 20 minutes of the film weren't dedicated to shooting puppets over and over.

Which isn't to say there isn't anything funny in the movie. Some of the best moments come from the characters' puppetness. At one point the female lead reaches to touch the hero's heart, but can't quite reach. She then looks at her arm, as if she can't understand why it can't go any further. Then there are the deadly panthers, which are just black house cats. Nice. It's a shame the movie's so dedicated to unfunny material like the fact that Kim Jong Il switches his r's and l's. The movie acts like that's the be-all end-all of comedy. Uh, it's not.


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