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In this episode: South Park: B, L & U

Funny, funny, funny, funny, funny. And funny. FUNNY! What a funny movie! Take Austin Powers 2 and double the laughs. Really! If you watch South Park on Comedy Central at all, then you will enjoy this movie without reservation. If you never watch the show, haven't ever seen it, and aren't some easy-to-queasy right-wing zealot for political correctness, you'll laugh. The movie is so insane and tasteless while being so clever and funny, you just have to like it. Unless you're some lace-wearing, quilt-sewing, summer-bonnet-donning preacher person who thinks the bumps on raspberries are too sexually suggestive.

There are a few reasons South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut can get away with all this insulting humor. First of all, it's funny. It just is. Then there's the social commentary. The rudest of the gags in the movie come from the stupidity of human beings. I offer as an example from the movie the Army's Get Behind Darky maneuver; American Happy Camps for Canadians; Big Gay Al; and of course the "let's blame everyone but ourselves and our kids when our children go wrong" concept, which is the main plot of the flick.

Another reason South Park gets away with this kind of humor is it's a good movie. The plot is solid, the writing is smart, and the pacing is perfect. I know... such high praise for a bunch of construction-paper cutouts, but even crude animation should be molded around good filmmaking. The movie's only 80 minutes long, but the pacing is quick and the story complete. I imagine the only thing one might complain about besides the offensive humor—which, unless you're a brittle, sheltered, moleish Bible-thumper, shouldn't alarm you—is the number of songs. But you'd have to really hate songs.

Songs! I had no idea this movie was a musical. It has more songs in it than your typical Disney flick. And you know what? The songs are great! They really make the movie. By the time you get to the part where four different songs are reprised on the eve of the big battle, you realize there's major talent involved here and you're not just watching clueless tripe. I mean, how much does it make sense for Satan, who we learn is gay and shacking up with Saddam Hussein, to be singing a show tune ballad about being up there, on the Earth, to live and love? How perfect is it for Gregory, the smart little British-accented student, to sing a Les Misérables-inspired revolution song? And I'm sorry, but even Terrence and Phillip's "Uncle Fucka" song is a crack-up. The songs typically forward the story, too, more proof of intelligence behind the vulgarity. When Cartman breaks into his "Kyle's Mom's a Bitch" song, it's not only to get the fans bopping (the song is from the show originally) it's also to get the experimental V-chip into Cartman's head, which then leads to another important plot point. And Saddam's "I'll Change" song is hilarious but also makes sure he's around later for the big battle between Canada and the U.S. Very excellent work.

What I like especially in South Park is how the types of people who will complain about this movie have been cut off at the feet. The movie itself already lampoons these people and their fights to "save our children." If you complain about South Park corrupting kid's minds, you're going to sound like Cartman's mom, and that's not a compliment. The thing is, kids are going to get in to see this movie, just as our little round-headed heroes get in to see Terrence and Phillip's R-rated Asses of Fire. But we certainly can't blame the movie or the movie makers for this. There are larger forces at work making kids shoot up their schools. However, this is not the forum for such a conversation, so I'll just say, hey, South Park ain't gonna ruin any lives. You sure have the right to not like the movie if you don't like this kind of humor, but you better be careful if you hold South Park up as a demon corrupter of youth or as an example of the degradation of the American moral fabric. You'll look foolish... or at least more so than usual.

Congratulations to Trey Parker and Matt Stone for creating a movie that, in many ways, is better than the show that spawned it. I can't wait to see it again and, hopefully, hear all the lines I missed because the audience was laughing too hard.



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  ©1999 Steven Lekowicz