February 19th, 2008


Team America: World Police

Watched Team America: World Police last night.

It's a pretty stupid movie, but endearingly so.

I could do without their nihilism and attacks on easy targets (ooh, making fun of celebrities who oppose the war in Iraq? you guys are really putting yourselves out there) but there were definitely some moments that made me laugh.

  1. The extended puppet sex scene. To be honest, this was the main reason I rented this movie.

    Liska: Meh. Is puppet sex really that interesting?
    Amar: In some ways, you and I are very different people.

  2. The musical parody of Rent ("Everyone has AIDS! AIDS AIDS AIDS!")

  3. When Kim Il Jong releases the "wild panthers" to maul the Americans, and then real domestic cats come out and bat around the puppets. HAHAHA, that was the funniest thing in the whole movie! It still cracks me up just thinking about it.

  4. That song that's ostensibly a love song, but all the lyrics refer to how much Pearl Harbor sucked

  5. All the moments when the puppets try to fight / kiss, but end up flailing ineffectually at each other due to their inability to move precisely

  1. The interminable poop / vomit / piss jokes. Am I the only consumer of comedy in America who does not see scatalogical humor as a "guilty pleasure," or indeed any type of pleasure? It wasn't funny even when I was 10.

  2. The indiscriminate mocking of everything -- "Everything is stupid" isn't much of a world view, and Team America's saturation bombing approach to jokes makes it harder to appreciate the good bits amidst the rubbish

  3. That song that goes "Team America, Fuck Yeah!"

On the whole, I have a lot of goodwill towards anyone bold enough to buck the traditional Hollywood system of "actors" and "proper special effects" in favor of puppets and domestic cats. Trey Parker and Matt Stone may have a juvenile sense of humor, but Team America frequently made me laugh out loud, which is more than I can say for most Hollywood comedies.

As an aside-- why is it that movie comedies are so rarely laugh out loud funny relative to TV shows? Any good episode of The Simpsons, Home Movies, Daily Show, Late Night w/ Conan O'Brian, etc. makes me laugh more than just about any comedy movie ever has. Even the good ones-- Ghostbusters, Groundhog's Day, 40 Year Old Virgin, Blazing Saddles, Spinal Tap-- are more "amusing" then "hilarious."

Perhaps the movie format requires more cohesion, dramatic arc, character development, etc, whereas laugh out loud humor is more something you get with throw-away jokes and sketches. Maybe improvisation is funnier than scripted humor. (If done well. Bad improv is a a torture on par with bamboo slivers under the fingernails.)