Category: comedies / In category: 6 of 10 / Overall: 60 of 100
Dating its first incarnation back to ‘The Tracey Ullman Show’ in 1987, it took ‘The Simpsons’ twenty years to make the transition from TV to the big screen, and then with variable results: ‘The Simpsons Movie’ is entertaining, but doesn’t quite achieve the inspired brilliance of the series at its formidable best.
‘South Park’, on the other hand, debuted in 1997 with the feature-length spin-off ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut’ effing and blinding its way into cinemas just two years later. It’s sharp, cohesive and exploits the possibilities of its extended running time in a way ‘The Simpsons Movie’ failed to, building on everything that was so scabrously entertaining about its small screen self and taking it just that bit further. It’s also got some kick-ass songs.
Oh yeah, ‘South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut’ is a musical. But not like any other animated musical you’ve ever seen. From the affable cynicism of ‘Quiet Little Mountain Town’ (“see our breath hanging in the air / see homeless people but we just don’t care”) to the gently improving sentiment of ‘M’kay’ (“you don’t have to end up addicted to smack / homeless on the street giving hand-jobs for crack”) to the parade of profanity in ‘Uncle Fucker’ (“shut your fucking face, uncle fucker / you’re a bona fide bastard, uncle fucker”) by way of the call to arms ‘Blame Canada’ (“we must blame them and cause a fuss / before someone thinks of blaming us”) and the defining anthem that is ‘Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch’ (“well, Kyle’s mom’s a bitch, she’s a great big bitch / she’s the biggest bitch in the whole wide world / she’s a stupid bitch if there ever was a bitch / she’s a bitch to all the boys and girls”), every number emerges as the kind of triumphantly potty-mouthed sing-a-long that would have Walt Disney spinning in his grave.
The plot is bonkers: Kyle’s mom starts a groundswell of moral outrage after she catches her son repeating filth heard a Canadian-produced movie which develops into all out war with Canada; meanwhile Kenny gets killed (natch!) and ends up in hell where Satan is awaiting his chance to rule earth while his lover Saddam Hussein keeps the Prince of Darkness firmly under his thumb. Saddam murmuring to Satan, “You like that don’t you, bitch?” after they get under the sheets and turn the lights out is just one of many moments in the film’s 78-minutes that could be deified and installed in the Temple of Wrong.
Ultimately, though, that’s what the movie’s about. It’s what the show has always been about. ‘South Park’ is an abattoir for sacred cows. Are you female? You’ll be offended (Mr Garrison on menstruation: “I wouldn’t trust anything that bleeds for five days and doesn’t die.”) Gay? You’ll be offended (Big Gay Al belting out a camp show tune full of stereotypical tropes while his pianist hammers away on an instrument made by, ahem, Felcher & Sons.) A member of the armed forces? You’ll be offended (Mr Garrison again: “This uniform makes me feel so manly. I can’t wait to go into town and get me some fucking poontang.”) Black? You’ll be offended (Operation Human Shield – ouch!) Religious? You’ll be offended (pre-pubescent resistance fighter The Mole: “God is a bitch.”) A member of the Baldwin acting dynasty? You’ll be calling a lawyer. Canadian? Brother, you’ll be declaring war right back!