Taking aim at the US government and its 'war on terror', Trey Parker's madcap marionette show, Team America: World Police, hits more often than it misses. Written with South Park co-creator Matt Stone, he lampoons the administration's gung-ho foreign policy with the depiction of a covert anti-terrorist force that shoots first and asks questions later. It's much like your standard Bruce Willis action flick, except the wooden performances aren't incidental and the laughs are intentional.
Broadway actor Gary Johnston (Trey Parker) is approached by the mysterious Spottswoode (Daran Norris) to undertake a perilous mission on behalf of Team America. Understandably reluctant, Gary nonetheless finds himself in a desert dustbowl - face smudged with shoe polish and a towel wrapped around his head - trying to locate missing weapons of mass destruction.
"A RAUCOUS RIDE PEPPERED WITH LAUGH-OUT-LOUD MOMENTS"
Heading the network of WMD smugglers is dictator Kim Jong II (Trey Parker), but Team America also face sabotage by a gang of celebrity left-wing loonies, including Alec Baldwin (Maurice LaMarche), Tim Robbins and Sean Penn (Parker again). It only makes the job of saving the world even harder for Johnston because Baldwin just happens to be his idol.
It's a raucous ride peppered with laugh-out-loud moments, like Team America blowing up Paris "in the name of freedom", or Kim Jong's James Bond style showdown with weapons inspector "Hans Bwix". A scene of explicit puppet sex is also outrageously funny, but this marks the point at which the gags start to wear thin. In the last half hour, crude knob jokes and a torrent of foul language do little to disguise the fact that Parker and Stone have run out of ideas. The celebrity subplot quickly unravels and jokes get annoyingly repetitive ie a squeaky-voiced rendering of Matt Damon. Team America is hilariously scathing for a while, it's just a shame Parker shoots for the easy mark in the end.