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Team America

Jim Jepps


 

Team America is a very funny film if you like that sort of thing, and I do. It's got enough bile and nihilism to keep me going for a while and pushes boundaries in a firm enough and silly enough way to have the audience in stitches.

But.

It's not a great film and, of course, it's a political scatter gun attacking the war on terror and the anti-war celebs with equal enthusiasm. And why shouldn't it? Films should not be political programmes on celluloid, the most important thing is that comedies are funny and tragedies have a real depth to them, not that they conform to our political priorities.

However.

I still found it disappointing. This film came from the makers of South Park which is defined by its cynicism and iconoclasm. The South Park film in particular could only really be seen as an attack on the war drive and the vacuous nature of public culture. Team America was not like this.

The opening scenes, where, in order to stop a bomb going off in Paris Team America essentially obliterate the city firing missiles with careless abandon into the Eiffel Tower and other historic landmarks, are clearly tearing at the murderous idiocy of American foreign policy and how non-Americans might come to hate the US.

It's also very good on racism. But the main target for its scorn are the anti-war celebrities organised in the Film Actors Guild (or FAG, yes, FAG) who begin as caricatures of anti-war actors and become out and out agents for terrorism. In the case of Michael Moore in the most outrageous (and regrettably funny) way.

Whether the image of Susan Sarondon wielding a pair of submachine guns and blasting away in defence of Kim Jong Ill can be an anti-war image is debatable at best.

At the end of the day this is a two joke film - and despite the fact that the jokes are funny, it's not really enough to sustain the whole thing. Yes its funny, and if you like utterly amoral, nihilistic catharsis then you'll be more than happy. If you're sensitive to those poking fun at the left then you're best advised that this one is not for you.

 

January 2005

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