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South Park:
Bigger, Longer and Uncut


June 1, 1999
by Dan Lybarger
Originally appeared in Pitch Weekly. ........................................................................................................

Comedy Central's raunchy and crudely animated cartoon series South Park is an acquired taste. Foul-mouthed lads Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Cartman engage in antics that are designed to offend just about anyone at some time. However, in half-hour doses, Trey Parker and Matt Stone's toilet humor is leavened by a delightful sense of absurdity. Where else but in this cartoon would one encounter a monster that has TV-actor Patrick Duffy for a leg?

Keeping enough of this outrageousness onscreen for 80 minutes is a challenge. Unfortunately, Parker, Stone and cowriter Pam Brady run out of ideas when there's still a half-hour to go. Up until then, there are a wide variety of guilty chuckles. As Stan croons sweetly about his mountain home, the simple paper cutouts look oddly innocuous. But when we see the lads (voiced by Parker and Stone) shoving a homeless man, the movie misbehaves pretty much like the series.

Gang from South Park

The gang from South Park.
1999 Paramount Pictures, used by permission.

The quartet are on their way to see the new movie Asses of Fire, starring their favorite flatulent Canadian actors, Terence and Phillip. The movie is rated R, but the boys figure out a way to sneak in. The kids later get into trouble because they start quoting the profane things they hear Terence and Phillip say. Their parents are expectedly horrified. Still, one could accuse the grownups of overreacting. They kidnap Terence and Phillip and start off a massive war with Canada. In addition to putting innocent Canucks in camps, the Yanks inadvertently make it possible for Satan and his gay lover Saddam Hussein to leave Hell and take over the world.

Believe it or not, the torrid love affair between the evil duo is the reason to see the movie. It features dialogue that sounds like it came from someone who has read one too many self-help books. The Prince of Darkness complains that Hussein only wants sex and doesn't care about his feelings. The rest of the film basically runs like a long episode of the series, complete with the primitive animation. The only real visual "bonuses" the offered are some cool-looking computer-generated demons. The requisite death of Kenny and Cartman's demand for respect for authority are handled in a hurried, anticlimactic manner. After a while, the initial shock of getting to hear the boys cuss for real diminishes. Parker has penned some amusing, well-crafted tunes, but often they seem to be inserted to kill time.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut also contains an earnest plea to stop censorship. Sadly, this angle is also a time waster because fans of the series and the film are already on the bandwagon. In order to make a workable movie, Parker and Stone need to offer a bit more imagination. Additional profanity is optional. (R)

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