South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut
Rating -

Animated (US); 1999; Rated R; 80 Minutes

Cast
Trey Parker: Cartman, etc.
Matt Stone: Kennie, etc.
Issac Hayes: Chef

Produced by Anne Garefino, Deborah Liebling, Trey Parker, Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder and Matt Stone; Directed by Trey Parker; Screenwritten by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam Brady

Review Uploaded
7/09/99

Written by DAVID KEYES

The biggest crime that Trey Parker and Matt Stone could ever commit would be re-releasing last year's "Orgazmo" to theaters. Since that is impossible (no one makes the same mistake intentionally), this leaves room for them to violate movie audiences in a much different way. Now comes the motion picture adaptation of their Comedy Central show "South Park," which will undoubtedly bring in countless moviegoers, since it opens on the same day as the shameless remake of "Wild Wild West" starring Will Smith. Since the Parker/Stone film is rated "R" most appropriately, I imagine "Wild Wild West" will see greater ticket sales, with hopeless youngsters buying the tickets to see it, only to sneak into this raunchy cartoon. The money may be with the old west, but the crowd will assuredly be in the South Park.

Not that they can be blamed--the Comedy Central show is so popular with the teenage audiences, they would rather risk sneaking in instead of sitting through the Barry Sonnenfield blockbuster crap. Do they have the right? I dunno. If they want to see it that bad, they might as well risk having a parent take them to it, although anyone over the age of 25 will probably be completely turned off by all of the racial stereotypes and disgusting mishaps that befall these animated characters. As for the teenagers, they will be familiarized with the whole setup, with what mature subject matter the show carries. Whether or not they will be surprised by all the vulgarity depends on how many uncensored episodes they have actually seen.

But the series is a different story. The movie is shocking, bizarre, tasteless trash that barely escapes an "NC-17" (by three cut scenes, actually). And yet this is trash that has value. Behind all those cuss words, all those satirical situations and nasty exhibitions is a clear view of human nature and society repugnance. People are really like this. Even in the most unbelievable plot twists, there's a hint of real life or believability. Take the Satan/Hussein affair into context, for instance. We see that the Arab man is horny, and that the devil wants not sex, but a meaningful relationship. The audience responds to this situation any way they can, in order to seem surprised: people scratch their heads, laugh, smile, chuckle--whatever it takes. But think: is it that difficult to imagine Hussein with the devil?

This gives us a movie that provokes a sense of nourishment to those who feel the United States house is using violence in the movies as a scapegoat for violent decisions. Ever since April, when several teens opened fire in a school and severely injured, and even killed, others, our movies have been blamed for their actions. This, given the fact that the President is trying to exclude violence in the cinema, has generated an uproar, and even a limit, to what we see in the theater. "South Park" is a frontal attack to their judgments, a vehicle that, even though it demonstrates every loathsome characteristic of the human personality, shows us that movies are not responsible for the horrible decisions people make. It could not have arrived at a better time.

The story starts when a new movie arrives in South Park--the Terrence & Philip flick tentatively titled "Asses Of Fire" has an "R" rating, and our four young heroes (Kyle, Kenny, Cartman and Stan) are not allowed to see it. Yet this is their favorite television show. The solution: con a bum into being their adult guardian so they can get into the theater. Afterwards, they slew out obscenities and remarks that amaze their parents and friends (a hint of "Kids Say the Darndest Things"). This angers Kyle's mother, who is so overreactional on the TV show that she could have Barney thrown over a building if it meant keeping her son away from the negative things. Thus, she sponsors the large campaign "Mothers against Canada," wages war on the production team of "Asses of Fire," and sentences the two stars Terrence & Phillip to death.

Then the movie gives its youngsters their establishing purpose. They have to stop the possible execution of their beloved TV stars. Of course, in the process, Kenny dies, and his friends shout "you bastard!" to the one who committed the crime, and of course, we see him in hell afterwards, discovering that Hussein and Satan are lovers. Just hearing these plot descriptions will amaze my readers. Can you imagine a room packed with people over the age of 30, watching these events taken place, especially when most haven't even seen the TV show? You'd think they would feel ashamed for even going. However, I fear that, like me, they will be more ashamed for laughing their heads off at all the negative energy produced by their creators.

So what do we get with all this vulgarity, shock and indignity, other than cringes and laughs? One of the best films of the year, that's all. It will offend and disgust, no doubt, buteven more importantly, it will keep people laughing so loud that they will forget about what they were offended and disgusted by. Not many films, namely comedies, can give the viewers reason to dismiss obviously tasteless qualities. Significantly with "South Park," the dialogue, the themes, the violence, the shrewd remarks and back-stabbing insults are aspects of filmmaking that are implied because moviegoers laugh at vulgarity, and liked to be shocked. Had this movie been live action, no one could dismiss the raunchy language. The film succeeds in this way because it's a cartoon, and kids can get away with cussing because they aren't really kids. Heck, this is animation: who says that a "G" rating is the absolute limit?


1999, David Keyes, Cinemaphile.org. Please e-mail the author here if the above review contains any spelling or grammar mistakes.
 
 
           
     
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