Depending on where you live, you may or may not know what “Southpark” is. For the uninitiated, “Southpark” is an animated cartoon that shows on Comedy Central, a basic cable channel here in the States. It stars 3rd graders Stan, Kenny, Eric, and Kyle, kids who live in a small town in Colorado called Southpark. Although the kids have the mouths of sailors (that means they curse a lot), they’re also imbued with insightful intelligence and are more often than not much smarter than the adults around them.
The “Southpark” TV show is a master of satire, taking the hot button subject of the week and turning it upside down. Because the show stars 3rd graders who curse as a matter of course, it’s hard to imagine (and in fact, it’s quite impossible) that the show would ever shy away from any subject, no matter how controversial. As an example, one episode features two physically and mentally handicapped kids beating each other to a pulp in the aptly titled “Cripple Fight”. Yes, the title of the episode was “Cripple Fight” and those were two animated handicapped kids beating the crap out of each other.
So it’s no surprise that “Southpark” the movie is just as crass, insightful, and as riotously funny as the TV show. Because the movie is, well, a movie and rated R, it allows series creators/writers/voice actors Trey Parker and Matt Stone to curse and not be censored. It goes without saying that the “F” word flies left and right. The premise of “Southpark” is rather convoluted, involving a recently killed Saddam Hussein who takes over Hell and manipulates Satan, a cross-border war between America and Canada, and attempted censorship of two foulmouth Canadian comedians.
“Southpark” the movie is actually a reflection of creators Parker and Stone and their experiences putting “Southpark” the TV show on the air. The series was heavily protested, threatened, and condemned as a sign the world was going to Hell when it came onto the scene about five years ago. In recent years, the show has been accepted by mainstream America as an insightful and satirical look on the world; a show that has a lot to say, and just happens to use toilet humor as a means to an end. But the early years of the TV show was not so kind to its creators, and as a result “Southpark” the movie is most effective when it focuses on the topic of censorship.
But don’t think “Southpark” is a serious drama. The TV show and the movie are filled with laughs, and in the movie the jokes come hard and fast. At just 80 minutes, the movie moves well, the pacing is quick and there is no lag time to be found. There are also some musical numbers, but I didn’t really care for them. (Both Parker and Stone are active musicians.) It helps, though, that the musical numbers are funny and mostly involves sexual practices and the correct and wrong way to do said practices.
It should be noted that “Southpark” is rated R, which means this is not “My Neighbor Totoro” by any stretch of the imagination. Besides crass and vulgar language, there are a lot of cartoon nudity, sexual innuendos and references, and even the appearance of a giant clitoris.
Which is to say “Southpark” the movie, like “Southpark” the TV show, is not for kids.
Trey Parker (director) / Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady (screenplay)
CAST: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, Isaac Hayes