Today’s Prayer Focus

Team America: World Police

MPA Rating: R-Rating (MPA) for graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language, all involving puppets.

Reviewed by: Douglas Downs

Moral Rating: Extremely Offensive
Moviemaking Quality:
Primary Audience: Adults Teens
Genre: Action Adventure Comedy
Year of Release: 2004
USA Release:
Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures Copyright, Paramount Pictures
Featuring Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Elle Russ, Stanley G. Sawicki
Director Trey Parker
Matt Stone
Producer Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Scott Rudin
Distributor: Paramount Pictures Corporation. Trademark logo.
Paramount Pictures Corporation
, a subsidiary of ViacomCBS

“Putting the “F” back in Freedom.”

Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “This politically-minded comedy action adventure tells the story of Team America, a group of superhero-style adventurers who travel the world fighting terrorism and other evils. Specifically, the story focuses on a typical “action hero” who is recruited to join Team America for a special mission, as a satire of the typical Hollywood action movie, using a combination of wood marionette-driven action sequences and stirring tongue-in-cheek musical numbers.”

When I heard that Jonathan Frakes was making a film on the Gerry Anderson classic “Thunderbirds,” I was very excited. I was disappointed that he took the live-action route. The film was, however, fairly true to the original Anderson vision. I must confess that I have been a long time fan of the film process known as Super Marionation. Mr. Anderson used marionette puppets in several classic SciFi series. Many of the titles are now available in DVD. I must tell you that there are occasions that these likable characters smoke and drink. There are also some scenes that were considered violent in its day. The “Thunderbirds” may be go, but “Team America” is a definite halt.

My first warning to anyone reading this review is the rating. This film is SO offensive that the MPA rated it NC-17. That is no problem, because the studios will make lots of money by releasing a R-rated version and an “unrated” DVD version. This is part of the current ratings “bait-and-switch” philosophy endorsed by Hollywood. Talk about pulling some strings. The other problem is that a different criteria (usually more lenient) is involved in the appeal process. This slick diversion will continue to open the door to more offensive content in movies.

Copyright, Paramount Pictures

Once again, Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”) have found a way to offend nearly everyone. They do try to be “equal-opportunity” offenders. They pick on both the conservatives and the liberals. I don’t think that there is anyone whom they haven’t tried to offend. This time Parker and Stone move from “paper-animation” to the world of “marionation.” Part of their satire includes not trying to hide the strings.

Corporations and not the government fund Team America. This puts current corporate lobbying in the forefront. Their goal is to span the globe to protect America. We may have lost the World Trade Center, but that is nothing compared to the historic landmarks that are destroyed in this film.

This film’s story about terrorists begins with Team America recruiting a Broadway actor named Gary (voice by Trey Parker). He is currently staring in a production called “Lease.” He is the ONLY one that can infiltrate the terrorist groups and expose the Weapons of Mass Destruction. While Gary contemplates his decision, Parker and Stone play a song that makes fun of the country tune “God Bless the USA.” The deal is sealed when our handsome actor is offered the gift of a beautiful lady, Lisa (Kristen Miller). The scene between these two is nothing short of Puppet Porn.

Gary and Team America try to stop terror, but there is an evil mastermind named Kim Jong II (voice also by Trey Parker). Jong is from North Korea and plans use the Hollywood liberals (known as F.A.G. Film Actors Guild) to help. This film gives crudeness a whole new definition. I am sure that fans of “South Park” will enjoy every minute. I know that it is the MOST tasteless movie I have ever seen. (Is there a law against “puppet abuse”?) It is extremely profane, and it takes all the “pop” out of pop culture entertainment.

The good news is that you can rent some of the classic Gerry Anderson series at sites like My favorite is “Supercar.” It was his first series and is safe viewing for the entire family. Yes, you can see the strings.

Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex: Extreme

Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Negative—This film is so filled with profanity, obscenity and gross bodily functions that it has absolutely no value to a Christian viewer. I am not a church-going Christian, and I am a fairly tolerant person, but the film is disgusting and crude. Yes, the satire is piercing and the skewering of the hate-America Hollywood types is somewhat refreshing, but overall, this movie was an ordeal, technical aspects aside.
My Ratings: [2]
Mary, age 55
Negative—It appears the filmmaker’s creed for this movie is, “let’s see how many people we can offend, and then offend them in the extreme.” In the first ten minutes of the film, our “heroes” destroy the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe, and the Louvre, all in the name of “saving” them from terrorists. It only gets worse from here as we are treated to a series of profane patriotic songs, a puppet sex scene that could only be described as pornographic (if it wasn’t for the fact that “Showgirls” ruined the NC-17 rating from a commercial standpoint, I have no doubt the editors would have left it in there), the violent destruction of other major landmarks, and tons of gratuitous violence. While most of the violence is directed towards liberals, terrorists, despots, the French, and other groups not popular with the Christian community today, is it really appropriate to enjoy the violent destruction of others? I think not. I can find very little to recommend this movie to any Christian.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/2½]
Tom Smith, age 33
Positive—This movie is a riot. It is non-stop funny from the first scene to the last. Even the lulls are fairly hilarious. There are no sacred cows here, either. Conservatives are skewered for being jingoistic and reckless, and liberals are taken to task for protecting our enemies more than ourselves. This will never be seen by anyone as a PC movie, and that alone makes it a refreshing movie.

That said, as a Christian, I find it hard to recommend this film. It is raunchy, there are more swear words than in a Richard Pryor film, and the puppet porn is taken way too far. As a student of the arts, however, there is no way that I cannot recommend this film. It is well done, the songs are woven in well, the plot is a definite improvement on “South Park BLU” and if its point is to be a sharp political comedy, then it hits its mark dead on.

Be careful and prayerful in checking out this film. For those who can handle it, it’s well worth the money. For those who can’t, you’ll walk out by the end of the second song, so you’ll be better off saving your money.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/5]
Paul, age 29
Positive—OK, no question the offensiveness factor of this film is over the top, and there’s no way to defend this film as having any kind of Christian point of view. That said, I found this movie laugh-’till-you-pass-out funny. The makers of “Team America”—also responsible for “South Park”—are, in my point of view, classic satirists in the very best tradition. As a political conservative, I found it refreshing to see a Hollywood film so directly skewer Hollywood, Michael Moore, and the UN. This film says a lot, and it uses offensiveness as kind of a vehicle to effectively deliver an important message the present popular culture. There is, I think, a method to the madness. I respectfully disagree with the reviewer, in that the movie had little to do with the original Thunderbirds. It also should be seen as being something it is not, in this case a Hollywood action film, as the satire is so pointedly aimed at the pompousness of Hollywood. The film is a timely, and for me at least, satisfying antidote to “Fahrenheit 9/11” and all the leftist misinformation coming from popular figures who have no platform other than their fame to stand on. I see the film as being in the best tradition of witty, intelligent and very sharply pointed satire. And the music is incredibly witty, satirical and funny. The movie is refreshing politically—but it is definitely not for everyone.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/4]
Richard Schmitz, age 48
Positive—If your Christian principles prevent you from understanding, acknowledging and appreciating satire, parody, and humor, then please do not see this film. It is not for you. However, if you retain these qualities despite your faith, you can comfortably view this film and enjoy it for these attributes. Remember that it’s okay to laugh at things that are silly; and it’s okay to find the silliness in serious issues, so long as you don’t forget the importance of the issue. Humor is a wonderful gift that you shouldn’t take for granted; Parker and Stone simply make it their life’s work to depict the humor in our culture, satirically and ironically. Please ignore the reviewer’s comments about “Rent” w/respect to this film. The film’s parodized version “Lease” is not “an AIDS version” of Rent. What a ridiculous thing to say. What was the disease featured so prominently in Rent? Gay cancer?
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4½]
Beth McGraw, age 23
Negative—Look, I am never the guy to stand up and condemn anything in a judgmental way or to tell rational adult Christians not to watch a certain movie. That said, this is pretty offensive stuff. Going into the film, I was hoping it would be a little more political and a little less crude. I think that Stone and Parker are both very talented, funny, intelligent guys. This film, though, wasn’t that funny at all. The jokes were tired by the end of the film. The end of the film was pretty low-brow entertainment. First the oral sex scene then the final speech about the you know what’s doing you know what to you know whose (I can’t repeat any of the words on a sight with children, but it is all very graphic and sexual). I thought “Baseketball” was very funny and “South Park the Movie” fairly funny, but this wasn’t a good movie. It has its moments, but it gets old fast.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/2]
Doug Coleman, age 22
Neutral[non-Christian] A very overhyped production. I was cracking up many times through the flick, but it lacked the magic of South Park BLU. I didn’t find enough songs in this flick… The enigma of Parker and Stone is that they are politically conservative. If Christians would peek through the surface of crude vulgarity they would find that they agree with most of their commentary. Moral relativist liberals get a bashing most of the time in their (Stone and Parker’s) productions.

I’m voting neutral on this flick because the attention Matt and Trey gave to this movie made for a lackluster second half of season 8 of South Park thus far. As a secular guy to Christians I will say to stay away from movies rated R (and PG-13 for the most part). From movies I have seen, the PG and G rated films are better quality (written and they gross more) anyway.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/3½]
John Dwyer, age 23
Comments from young people
Negative—Let me start out by saying that I am not so much a fan of “South Park” or pretty much anything that Trey Parker and Matt Stone have placed out in front of the public since… well, ever. From the previews, it looked as if it would actually be something that I enjoyed. I guess I enjoy some offensive stuff, examples being any Mel Brooks movie ever made and even parts of the movie “Dogma,” but this one, well, got old. Fast. Throughout the entire movie, only one real point was made and that was in the first five minutes. There were a few laughs here and there (Michael Moore… oh yeah) but, it just seemed to go on forever and ever. Foul language used in a movie usually doesn’t make me feel that uncomfortable, but when the speech was given on the three types of people in the world, well, I was offended, which is very hard to do.

The puppet sex was also another downer to this movie. I thought that the filmmakers really had trimmed it down to an R rating when I viewed it, but the puppet sex was just too long. I can see how it satires sex scenes found in other movies, but it was taken a bit too far. A few seconds might have been somewhat humorous, but how it was actually done was just grotesque. As a Christian, I cannot reccomend this movie and as a person who loves satire, I can only reccomend you stay away. It’s just not good satire… it’s just too long and the jokes get too old.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/1½]
Dub, age 16
Positive—Hilarious in the most offensive state of the word. Its from the creators of SOUTH PARK! If you don’t like that type of humor then don’t expect anything different. Observe the “R” rating. Its offensive, but that’s part of the charm.
My Ratings: [Extremely Offensive/4½]
Gene, age 17
Positive—…extremely funny, but be warned this film is not for everybody, there is plenty of cursing—but way less than their last effort South Park Blu, but still a lot of it. Lots of graphic puppet violence, but mostly comic and the blood looks pretty fake, and in sexual content there is plenty of sexual comments and sexual humor, and there is a puppet sex scene that is quite extensive but still pretty funny and people may not like that it is anti-liberal and pokes fun at celebrities. In quality, there are plenty of funny moments and several funny songs heard in the film, some boring parts, but the laughs more than makeup for that one flaw. If you watch this film be strong in your faith because there is plenty of offensive content in the film, but if you can deal with that it is an extremely funny film, but don’t take your kids to this film.
My Ratings: [Very Offensive/4½]
Jonathan, age 9
Movie Critics
…The film is only intermittently funny and truly does raise a question of how often can one resort to the same foul words for laughs without becoming tiresome…
Kirk Honeycutt, The Hollywood Reporter
…This movie is perverse in the extreme… The creators of “South Park” have again cesspooled their talents to offend as many people as possible…
Tom Neven, Plugged In, Focus on the Family
…Like a cocky teenager who’s had a couple of drinks before the party, [directors Parker and Stone] don’t have a plan for who they want to offend, only an intention to be as offensive as possible…
Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times
…if you like your social commentary mixed with grade-school humor and shameless incivility, you’ll laugh till you cry.” …
Bob Longino, Atlanta Journal-Constitution
…As puppetry, Team America is stilted. As satire, it’s gutless and lazy. And as comedy, it barely delivers laughs…
Mick LaSalle, San Francisco Chronicle
…entirely absent of wholesome content…
Troy Dandrea, Preview Family Movie and TV Review