South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (1999)

1 Jul

watching-movie

Smith’s Verdict: ***1/2

Reviewed by Tanner Smith

I guess the best way to start this review is by saying whether or not those who aren’t fans or haven’t seen an episode of the hit animated TV series “South Park” will enjoy this movie version, “Bigger, Longer & Uncut.” Well, a typical “South Park” episode contains a lot of fearless satire (mostly on current issues or trends or sometimes both) with a lot of toilet humor, vulgarities, and usually some mean-spiritedness surrounding it. And if you can get into all that to get to what its creators Tray Parker & Matt Stone address (usually at the end of the episode to make up for everything else) and if you can laugh at it, then you get what you can expect when you see a full-length movie. It’s essentially like watching three or four episodes of “South Park.”

The main difference? It’s a theatrical release, which means the things that Parker & Stone really wanted to include in their material to make the humor full-circle, like heavy amounts of profanity and sexual references, are welcome…to a certain extent, I think. This film isn’t rated NC-17 by the MPAA and instead rated R, I believe, simply because it’s animated. Times have sort of changed since the X-rated “Fritz the Cat.” But there you go—many uses of the F-word every minute in this under-90-minute film.

Aside from that, “Bigger, Longer & Uncut” is essentially like watching a long episode of “South Park,” and if you like “South Park,” you’ll probably like this movie. Simple.

The animation is still bad but consistently so. The humor is still nonsubtle and crude and rude. The targets of such humor are savaged, and there are MANY here (the MPAA’s rating system, Canada, wars, religion, small town America, among others). Stan and Kyle learn an important lesson that they practically address to the audience. And more importantly, Kenny still dies and Cartman is still a pain in the ass. But he’s a hilarious pain in the ass if that makes sense!

What’s the story? Well, it’s quite full. It all begins as our four young heroes, Stan (Parker), Kyle (Stone), Cartman (Parker), and Kenny (Stone), sneak into an R-rated movie in which Canadian stars Terrence & Phillip tell dirty jokes, sing profane songs, and drop the f-bomb left and right. This new vocabulary and behavior fascinates them to no end, as they swear up a storm in front of their friends who then see the movie themselves. Soon, everyone in school has seen the movie and are spewing profanities all around. Kyle’s overbearing mother starts an organization that tries to prohibit profanity and decides to strike against Canada since it was made in their country. They make a citizen’s arrest against Terrence & Phillip themselves. When Canada strikes back by bombing the Baldwin brothers, American goes to war. Their next step: execute Terrence & Phillip at a public gathering. How to attend: join the US Army.

Of course, Kenny dies, as he does in most episodes. (Every occurrence is followed by this—Stan: “Oh my God! They/he/you killed Kenny!” Kyle: “You bastard(s)!”) Here, Kenny imitates a risky action done in the Terrence & Phillip movie and gets killed in the process. Does he go to Heaven? Nope. He’s sent down to Hell where he of course comes across a gigantic Satan. He’s scary at first, until Kenny notices he’s weak when next to Saddam Hussein, who happens to be Satan’s lover in a homosexual relationship. Kenny also finds out that if Terrence & Phillip are killed, Satan and Saddam will rise and rule the world. He makes a ghostly appearance to Cartman to warn him. Can Stan, Kyle, and Cartman stop everything before time runs out?

“South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” is also a musical, much like a Disney animated musical but with swear words. Most of them are catchy and edgy, with hilarious lyrics all around. Where else will you find a musical in which Satan sings about dreaming of a life like everyone else on Earth? There are a lot of songs in this movie, including one that is a follow-up to a popular Cartman song done on the show, but of course with more F-words and an ironic twist.

And speaking of Cartman, he is just hilarious here. Cartman is generally everyone’s favorite character on the show because he’s so loud and obnoxious and despicable…usually, that would make him very unbearable, but somehow (I’m not quite sure how) Cartman has the right amount of cruelty, vulgarity, racism, and loudness to make us laugh at him. And a masterstroke in writing is that midway through the film, after he’s spewed so many profanities, he’s given a chip in his brain that will shock him if he utters another f-bomb or s-word. It drives him crazy when he can’t say what he really wants, and I love how angry he gets about anything, let alone not being allowed to swear.

What’s really funny about the satire is that everything that happens here happened because of profanity in a movie that kids wouldn’t see unless they snuck in to begin with. And it has a point. There’s a line Kyle’s mom says that pretty much sums up what the antagonists are doing—“Remember what the MPAA says: Horrific, deplorable violence is okay, as long as people don’t say any naughty words!” Yeah, really think about that.

That’s one of the joys of “South Park”: that Parker & Stone can look at something and how people react to it and come up with exaggerated versions of it or them. It’s kind of like they’re projecting what these people are acting like to them. And if they imagine them saying something about it, then it’s pretty much what they allow their characters to say.

There isn’t much more I can say about this film’s humor without giving stuff away, and this film practically demands you not to know too much. You may find the movie funnier that way anyway. I guess the best way to recommend “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” to those who haven’t seen the show is by saying if you’re easily offended, you shouldn’t see this movie. As for me, I laughed out loud quite a lot during this movie and found myself chuckling even more. I found the film to be funny all the way through and I’d watch it about 20 or 30 more times, like my favorite “South Park” episodes.

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