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South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut
Director: Trey Parker
Screenplay: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Pam Brady
Voices: Trey Parker (Stan Marsh/Eric Cartman/Mr. Garrison), Matt Stone (Kyle Brosloski/Kenny McCormick), Isaac Hayes (Chef), George Clooney (Doctor), Eric Idle (Scientist)
MPAA Rating: R
Year of Release: 1999
Country: USA

When you come right down to it, the entire essence of "South Park" (both the Comedy Central TV series and the new movie), its modus operandi, as it were, can be boiled down to one thing: the humor of listening to little kids swear.

It's just that simple. Listening to kids cuss is funny because it's one of those truths that adults simply hate to admit. The fact is, kids in elementary school use four-letter words. Not only that, but children can be some of the meanest, most vicious members of the human race, especially to each other. All that sap about the wonderful innocence of childhood and the purity and tenderness of being young was basically blown out of the water when the first member of "The Bad News Bears" uttered a cuss word.

Of course, "The Bad News Bears" hold nothing to the tiny tykes of "South Park." Although they are crudely animated, squat characters built of little more than cut-outs of construction paper, Stan Marsh, Kyle Brosloski, and Eric Cartman have the worst potty mouths of all time. And where did they learn all these foul words? At the movies, of course!

Co-creator Trey Parker has already had a run-in with the MPAA ratings board last year over his porno satire "Orgazmo," and the rumor mill has been churning recently about whether or not "South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut" actually survived the ratings process in the state its title promises. From what I have heard, it is not exactly "uncut," as certain things had to be snipped to ensure an R-rating.

But, fear not, for there is plenty of verbal and visual raunchiness left in for even the most jaded viewer. The movie contains hundreds of cuss words--there are even entire musical numbers dedicated to cursing. There are scenes involving a talking clitoris, Saddam Hussein and Satan having sex in hell, not to mention blatantly racist jokes, anti-Semitic remarks, and more fart and vomit jokes than you can shake a stick at. The main point of this movie is to offend someone, and there's something in it for everyone. Black, white, Jewish, Christian, Canadian, French, pro-life, pro-abortion, feminists--nobody comes out unscathed. Even Bill Gates gets shot in the head.

The plot revolves around the four South Park kids (Stan, Kyle, Cartman, and little Kenny, who, as always, gets killed) sneaking into an R-rated movie by two Canadian comedians named Terrence and Philip, who are essentially cinematic stand-ins for co-creators Parker and Matt Stone (T & P are, after all, described as untalented actors who have made a fortune with fart jokes). Terrence and Philip's movie, "Asses of Fire," is basically what the "South Park" movie is: one that every little kid in America will want to see but should not see.

While watching "Asses of Fire," the kids learn every unspeakable word in the English language, which they naturally repeat at school ad nauseum. This causes the concerned parents in town (especially Kyle's overbearing mother) to create a new group called Mothers Against Canada (M.A.C.), which eventually leads to all-out war between the United States and its northern neighbor. This culminates in nothing less than Armageddon, led by Satan and Saddam who see the impending execution of Terrence and Philip as the final sign of the apocalypse.

To say that "South Park" is funny would be an understatement. "Bigger, Longer, & Uncut" has several priceless moments, including one where Cartman gets a V-Chip implanted in his skull that gives him an electrical shock every time he cusses. And, while musical numbers have been the unnecessary bane of many recent animated films, the 15 songs here (most of which were co-written by Trey Parker and composer Marc Shaiman) are the movie's greatest assets, perfectly parodying everything from Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" (1991) to "Les Miserables."

"South Park" has a kind of no-holds barred mentality that is both its greatest asset and its chief liability. It is an asset because it allows for anything and everything; it's hard to get truly offended because it's trying so hard to offend you (it's almost as if you don't want to give it the satisfaction). On the other hand, it's a liability because it doesn't allow for any subtlety. Everything is wham-bam-in-your-face raunchiness, and one can only take that kind of assaultive comedy for so long before it grows tiresome. Even at less than an hour and a half, the "South Park" movie grows thin in its final reel.

Parker and Stone do realize that all this vulgarity needs to have a point beyond mere crudeness, and to their credit they do mold it into timely social satire. The only problem is that their message gets muddled in the proceedings. Several times in the movie, they make the point that the MPAA ratings system is hard on movies with sex and foul language, but lenient with graphically violent fare (a charge that has been intensified by the recent school shootings).

Their point seems to be, Yes, "South Park" is crude and offensive, but it won't cause violence the way "action" movie do. But then, Parker and Stone undermine this argument by turning the end of the film into a gory bloodbath with American and Canadian troops blowing each other away, leaving a battlefield strewn with blood and brains. Granted, the sequence is animated and could never be mistaken for reality, but it seems to be an unnecessary addition. The satirical message is that the moral defenders of impressionable American youth would literally rather see violent death than obscenity, but Parker and Stone end up delivering both in overabundant quantities to prove their point.

Overall Rating: (2.5)

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