Film Reviews

Splendor in the Crass

It all happens in a "pissant white-bread town" in Colorado. Just outside Denver is this strange place where people spot UFOs and the school nurse has a conjoined dead fetus on her head.

South Park, the hit Comedy Central show, started with Trey Parker and Matt Stone creating their short, The Spirit of Christmas, where Jesus and Santa fight to near death.

A FoxLab executive made that animated short into a Christmas card, and it got passed around, copied, quoted -- and a cult was born. South Park made its television debut nearly two years ago, with an episode where one of the South Park kids, Eric Cartman, gets an alien anal probe.

Now, the movie long-awaited by everyone -- well, at least the fans who spend Wednesday night watching the series with their $5 boxes of Cheesy Poofs -- has made it to the unbeeped-out big screen. South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut is a wet dream for its followers, a commercial-free feature-length film with more creative cussing than ever.

In this cartoon musical, the animation's crappy -- but those who want trees to look like trees can buy a ticket to Tarzan. Viewers who want to watch a music number made entirely of farts will find South Park to be the supreme gas.

For lame people who don't have cable, the series and the movie center on four foul-mouthed eight-year-old boys: Kyle Broflovski, the little Jewish kid; Stan Marsh, who throws up every time Wendy Testaburger talks to him; Kenny McCormick, who dies in every episode -- his words (usually the dirtiest things said) are always muffled under his orange hood; and Eric Cartman, the fatass who had frat boys across the country talking about how they were "totally buff."

As with the series, Parker and Stone do most of the movie voices, but the most famous (and most resonant) one is Chef, dubbed by Oscar- and Grammy Award-winner Isaac Hayes (star of the old Shaft films). He had pretty much slipped into oblivion, and now he's an oversexed cook singing to children about making sweet love down by the fire. The movie has guest spots by Minnie Driver as Brooke Shields and George Clooney as an ER doctor (he appeared in the series as the voice of Sparky, Stan's gay dog.)

The action starts with Stan singing about what a great day it is in his quiet, redneck mountain town. The trippy thing is that he's walking. On TV, the cardboard cutout characters just glide like in a video game.

With his oh-what-a-beautiful-morning song, Stan introduces everyone, and then the boys sneak into an R-rated Canadian cartoon, Terrance and Phillip's Asses of Fire. Their parents get pissed off that the kids are cussing, send them to rehab and start World War III. Kyle's mom executes Terrance and Philip.

The movie within the movie is the same cover-your-ass-from-criticism ploy that Parker and Stone used in the first season when parents were outraged about their kids watching Terrance and Phillip on TV and stormed the Comedy Central headquarters in New York.

Clearly, the uncensored South Park movie was bound to have lots of cussing. It's rated R, and kids are going to sneak in and come out singing "Fuck You, Uncle Fucker" (a tune that's hard to get out of the head). So to combat criticism, they wrote the entire movie about parents complaining and fighting about a movie packed with dirty words.

"That was weak," as Cartman would say. Maybe their next movie will be funnier because they won't be trying to fend off critics.

The parents in the film get mad and decide to blame Canada and start a Mothers Against Canada group. Canada bombs the Baldwin brothers (voiced by Dave Foley), and Clinton declares war.

Meanwhile, there's a new kid in school, Gregory, who's smart and politically aware, and Wendy Testaburger likes him. Wanting her back, Stan asks Chef how to make a woman like him more than any other guy.

"That's easy: Find the clitoris," Chef says.
"Is that like finding Jesus or something?" Cartman asks.
Later the clitoris appears to Stan as a pink glowing blob with the voice of Glenda the Good Witch.

Kenny dies (as usual), except this time he goes to heaven, which is a big topless bar with no cover. Just naked women crowding every cloud.

Happily, Cartman does his rendition of "Kyle's Mom Is a Big Fat Bitch in d minor" (the hidden track on the Chef Aid album released last year).

Instead, they had Satan crooning his own version of the Little Mermaid's "Part of Your World," wishing he was up where they walk, up where they run, up where they play all day in the sun. There are far too many sappy, Celine Dion-style songs. It seemed like the songs were done more for the purpose of selling the soundtrack than being funny.

They took the uncensored we're-not-on-television a little too far in some scenes. Like Saddam whipping out a noncartoon Boogie Nights-style love wand and telling Satan to bend over. And we didn't need to see Big Gay Al naked and anatomically correct.

Much of the movie is twisted, warped and wrong, which is totally South Park. And why fans love the series.

South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut.
Rated R.
Directed by Trey Parker. With voices by Parker, Matt Stone, George Clooney, Minnie Driver and Isaac Hayes.

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Wendy Grossman
Contact: Wendy Grossman