The guy who sat next to me in the theatre asked if there was going to be any profanity in this movie. He seemed to think that the bleeping was funnier than any actual naughty words. But like a race car driver in city traffic, you have to take the safety restraints off of those potty-mouth poet laureates, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, to find out what they can REALLY do.
First, a warning: If you don’t generally find “South Park” funny, go watch “Notting Hill”, ya loser. For the rest of us, greatness awaits.
The loose framework of a plot is this: Those lovable rascals from South Park, Stan, Kyle, Kenny, and the fat kid, sneak into the new “R”-rated movie from their Canadian idols, Terrence and Phillip. The boys take all that restricted vocabulary to heart (as will you), much to the chagrin of their mothers. Kyle’s mother, Sheila Broflovski, goes on one of her typical crusades. Satan and Saddam Hussein get involved. Hilarity ensues. Also, over the course of 80 minutes we run into every major recurring character except for Pip, Mr. Hanky, and the school bus driver.
Did I mention it was a musical? There’s something like a dozen major musical numbers, most of them brilliant enough to make this the best musical to come out of Hollywood in over 20 years. Yes, it’s better than “Grease” and “Rocky Horror”, probably better than “Phantom of the Paradise” and “Bugsy Malone”. The songs drive the movie forward and often have very distinct points to make. “Blame Canada” skewers the pathological inability to take responsibility for your own problems while “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” lampoons the need for heroes and inspiration. The catchiest and most damaged song would be “Uncle F**ka”, existing somewhere between Cole Porter and David Mamet.
Backlash against “South Park” started in earnest a few months ago, but the new episodes are just as edgy as ever. Parker and Stone make the most of this theatrical opportunity (even the title is a dick joke). They use this chance to go after censorship, intolerance, scapegoating, “Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus”, rednecks, “Les Miserables”, and Winona Ryder.
Unfortunately, the film has become rather timely in light of the Columbine massacre. Parents and the media have too willingly scapegoated violent television and goth-metal bands. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” and Marilyn Manson are not the problem, just momentary avenues of escape. Coincidentally, I also saw Rammstein in concert this week, and they’re just too damn silly to be a bad influence.
If, like me, you’re sick of every work of art getting judged by your grandmother’s delicate sensibilities and would like to watch some real artists have some fun while flipping off the cultural watchdogs, this film was made for you. If, unlike me, you’re completely offended by a bunch of trash-talkin’ eight-year-olds and eighty minutes of non-stop profanity, this film was made for you, too. Enjoy.