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1 item from 1999

Film review: 'South Park'

28 June 1999 | The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News | See recent The Hollywood Reporter - Movie News news »

The title has it right: The "South Park" movie is bigger, longer and uncut. It is also hilarious, uncensored and charming in its delectably ham-fisted way. The first feature to emerge from Comedy Central's highly popular animated series, "South Park" is likely to become a must-see movie this summer for many age groups.

From the film's opening number -- where the population of South Park musically celebrates the glories of their redneck, white-trash Colorado mountain town -- "South Park" creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone pepper the audience with comic shrapnel. The only problem comes when laughter sometimes drowns out the funnier lines.

Parker and Stone, who wrote the script with Pam Brady, tackle what turns out to be a hot-button topic: whom society can blame when U.S. youth goes astray. Somebody has to be blamed. So why not blame Canada?

When Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman manage to slip into an R-rated movie, their third-grade friends follow suit. The movie's foul language and fart jokes so corrupt their tiny brains that nearly every child is incapable of civil speech.

Angry parents need to point their fingers somewhere and, as the film's stars are Canadian, everyone decides to blame Canada. South Park's protest movement against Canada mushrooms. Before you know it, the Canadian stars, Terrence and Philip, get the death penalty, and the United States declares war on its northern neighbor.

Cartman, the most foul-mouthed of the bunch, gets an unusual "V-chip" inserted into his brain that gives him a shock every time he utters a naughty word. Meanwhile, Kenny has been killed -- naturally -- and finds himself in Hades, where he encounters a surprisingly milquetoast Satan and his new bed mate, Saddam Hussein, who are plotting to take over the world.

Happily, the crude caricatures of the inspired cable television series have been improved not one bit for their feature debut. "South Park" still looks like a cartoon anyone could draw. And at 80 minutes, the movie ends long before its flat design grows wearisome on the eyes.

The "South Park" universe has been enlarged somewhat for the big screen. Parker, who directs, stages elaborate heaven and hell sequences. And the warfare between the two North American nations requires busy art design.

The film's outrageous songs, written mostly by Parker and composer Marc Shaiman, parody Broadway musicals like "Les Miserables", wherein spontaneous and harmonic passions erupt from an outraged populace.

Hollywood celebrities take more than a little ribbing from Parker and Stone, with Conan O'Brien, Brooke Shields and The Baldwin Brothers making highly unauthorized appearances. And what can one say about Winona Ryder entertaining the troops at a USO show by performing her pingpong ball trick?

"South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" has the kind of I-don't-believe-what-I-just-heard audacity that might even make Beavis & Butt-head creator Mike Judge nervous. How's he going to top this?



Paramount Pictures

Warner Bros./Paramount Pictures

in association with Comedy Central

Producers: Trey Parker, Matt Stone

Director: Trey Parker

Writers: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady

Executive producers: Scott Rudin, Adam Schroeder

Director of animation: Eric Stough

Animation producer: Frank Agnone II

Music and lyrics: Trey Parker

Score, additional music and lyrics: Marc Shaiman

Editor: John Venzon



Stan Marsh, Eric Cartman: Trey Parker

Kyle Broflovski, Kenny McCormick: Matt Stone

Mrs. Cartman, Sheila Broflovski, Mrs. McCormick: Mary Kay Bergman

Chef: Isaac Hayes

Dr. Gouache: George Clooney

Conan O'Brien: Brent Spiner

Brooke Shields: Minnie Driver

Dr. Vosknocker: Eric Idle

Winona Ryder: Toddy Walters

Running time -- 80 minutes

MPAA rating: R


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1 item from 1999

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