South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut
starring: a gaggle of potty-mouthed kids
Today I am writing reviews for Eyes Wide Shut and South Park. I know what you are saying: "there couldn't be two movies farther apart in every respect." Well, you are wrong. Eyes is a dark, long look at relationships through the eyes of one of the greatest filmmakers of all time, and South Park is --
No, wait -- you're right.
South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut was the most enjoyable 80 minutes of vulgarity and filth I've been witness to ever, including all of those pornos I was forced by my friend Jeremy to watch at gunpoint. I laughed, I snorted, I chortled, I got a few disapproving looks from the folks around me, and then I laughed again.
The movie appears to take place sometime before the television series started (though that is not really important), when all of the kids were sweet innocents, the town of South Park was a peaceful, quiet place, and nary a dirty word crossed the lips of anyone under 15 years of age. That is, until the "Terrence and Philip" movie, an import from the apparently fart-happy Canadian film industry, comes to town. The kids learn all kinds of colorful words and phrases ("Uncle Fucker" and "Cockmaster" are my favs) and happily spew them at the adults around them. In a rage, the adults of the nation respond with a surgically implanted chip that shocks a child whenever he utters an obscenity, and by declaring war on Canada. All of this is watched eagerly by homosexual lovers, Satan and Saddam Hussein, as they prepare to use the coming war as a gateway to the Apocalypse.
Plus, there are lots of keen musical numbers.
This movie was far funnier and far more intelligent than I expected it to be -- often these "cultural phenomena" half hour TV shows do not translate well to film -- stories are thin and weak and jokes grow tiresome after that first 24 minutes -- not so with South Park. Stone and Parker (who created the cartoon, wrote the film and most of the music and voice most all of the principle characters) have done a great job creating a plotline that is the equal of the film's 80+ minutes. Laughs occur wherever they need to be, the story flows very well, and the sparkling musical numbers are brilliant and hilarious.
There are stumbling blocks for this film. Though it recieved an "R" rating (the director of the MPAA later said that it was a mistake -- "NC-17" would have been more appropriate), it is one of the most vulgar films I've seen -- apparently (I did not count) averaging 5+ serious R-rated swear words per minute. This and the "R" rating will keep most of the real money audience for cartoons (kids) from buying tickets -- they will sneak into the movie (I watched 4 12-13 year olds do it while I was there), but the $$ will not go to South Park. The deeply offensive nature of the entire film will keep a lot of adults out of the theater as well -- several people walked out of the theater the first time Saddam's penis made an appearance. Also, as with many comedies of this type, it bogs down for 10-15 minutes early in the third act. But, these minor problems aside, this is a damn funny film.
If you are not easily offended, you will laugh at this film. I only hope the movie bolsters the TV show's sagging ratings -- it would be a shame for us to lose access to this very funny franchise, created by two very funny -- and now very rich -- young men.