"South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut" is sometimes savagely, inventively funny, and, therefore, for better or worse, will be mistaken for a comedy by many of the adults and journalists sure to take the bait and be outraged by it.
It isn't really a comedy, though. Trey Parker and Matt Stone, geeks through and through, have made the most political movie in quite a while, perhaps the most biting film ever about the hypocritical, irrational piety raging in America over the mostly false issue of wholesomeness, popular culture and children.
This movie really takes the wood to America's Morality Industry, the William Bennett - Bill Clinton - Tipper Gore- Joe Lieberman -led campaign so prevalent in journalism and politics. In this country, epidemic and graphic violence and abuse is tolerated, on-screen and off.
But when smutty language or pictures appear, Congress and our many other moral guardians go into meltdown. Kids are caught in the middle between their culture and the nuthouse atmosphere created by many of the people running their lives.
This defiantly subversive movie might send the legions of virtuous right over the edge. Any film that has the U.S. declaring war on Canada is off to a great start. The trouble begins when the South Park heroes finagle their way into a Canadian movie where they hear dirty words.
When they subsequently call their teacher a "butt-fucker" and worse, all hell literally breaks loose, including - here the movie is at its bitterest and most satirical - the insertion of an experimental "V-Chip" into Cartman's brain which causes an electric shock whenever he curses.
Thus a concerned nation - off-screen, our President argues with a straight face that V-Chips are an answer to high school massacres -- sets out to save its children's moral souls at any cost.
This movie flips the bird at pompous adult society in every imaginable graphic tasteless way possible. It's hard sometimes to know whether to laugh or cheeer as the movie goes after an array of irresistible targets - Disney, "Les Miz" Bill Gates, Brooke Shields, Winona Ryder, the Baldwins, Satan and God, teachers, parents who want everyone but themselves to take responsibility for the moral environments of their kids.
In a way "South Park" is too relevant and angry to be uniformly hilarious, and the eerie shadow of Columbine hovers over the movie.
But it is frequently a stitch, and its lever lets up in its savage pounding of the way so-called grown-ups and leaders posture and lie while invoking morality.
The film?s very existence totally exposes the insanity of Hollywood?s ratings system (this movie got an "R" rather than an "NC-17"? It violated every taboo imaginable, from ethic and religious stereotyping, to vile language and a score of references to anal, oral and bestial sex.) In scenes that could easily come from the movie itself, movie theaters all over the country have adopted stringent security procedures to keep the under-17 crowd out of "South Park." This includes the posting of extra ushers at the door to card moviegoers, as if any exposure to graphic language and scatological humor will damage the fragile young.
At the theater where I saw it, adolescents waiting outside easily got older kids and adults to go in with then, and others slipped in the door while the bored usher was yawning. By the weekend, of course, the movie will be all over the Net.
Which, of course, is exactly the point this Parker and Stone are trying to make.
"South Park" was always an idea that geeky people loved more than something many people watched or flocked to see. The series was a hit early on, but has flagged the last year or so.
But this movie is a crowning achievement for its makers. They really show up their mostly gutless, cowering counterparts in the entertainment industry. South Park goes out in a blaze of glory, not only because it?s funny and bizarre, but because it?s out at precisely the right moment, making the right point.