South Park: Bigger, Longer, & Uncut - B
Viewed July 3, 1999 at Lincoln Square

The most surprising thing about South Park isn't its foul language[1], but that it's a full-fledged musical and a very good one, at that. It's clear that Trey Parker loves musicals, even as he mocks their conventions[2]. There's almost a dozen numbers sprinkled throughout and there's only two duds ("What Would Brian Boitano Do?" and Big Gay Al's extravagant USO number "I'm Super"). But those two are more than compensated by such wonderful bits as Satan's Disneyesque power ballad "Up There", the gleefully anarchic "Uncle Fucka" complete with farting instrumental break[3], and the show-stopper: a glorious parody of Les Miserables. The cheerfully goofy and profane lyrics just adds to their singalong appeal. Too bad the Academy is likely too cowardly to nominate any of these for Best Song; a production number of "La Resistance" or "It's Easy, Mmm'Kay" would certainly make for an Oscar telecast worth watching.

Apart from its musical status and the profane dialogue, South Park makes the transition to the movie theater quite well. The show's signature construction paper look works on the big screen, and the show's heady mix of savage satire, life in the pop culture blender gags, and plain silliness is transferred intact to the movie version. (Unfortunately, so do the occasional bouts of mean spirit that mar the show.) The major problem (which was an issue with the Beavis and Butthead movie as well) is that Parker and Stone can't maintain their comic momentum; the last half-hour drags as too much attention is paid to the war with Canada plot.[4]

[1]Was anyone expecting such dedicated envelope pushers as Trey Parker and Matt Stone to play it safe?
[2]I now fully expect to see a Trey Parker musical grace the Great White Way in the next 20 years. (Hey, if Carrie(!) can be made into a musical, anything's possible..)
[3]This is the first time that I've actually found farting, in and of itself, funny.
[4]I did like the chain-smoking existential 8-year-old with the French accent; he's hysterical. ("God is the biggest bitch of them all.")