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“Team America: World Police”Paramount PicturesDirected by Trey Parker Written by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Pam BradyStarring the voices of Trey parker, matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa abd Daran NorrissRated ‘R’Opens in theaters today

Three out of five stars

While treading our nation’s minefield of politically correct dos-and-don’ts, many filmmakers choose to take dependable detours in order to shy away from dangerous territory.

This may protect them from the tragedy of a reel-to-reel faux pas, but their cowardly tactics also destroy any hope of earning a harrowing Purple Heart.

However, Trey Parker and Matt Stone (of South Park fame) do not fear theatric failure or certain social dismemberment.

Or at least so much is apparent in the duo’s latest opus, “Team America: World Police”-a movie that trips every explosive possible, just to shake things up.

It took nine revisions for Team America to drop the box-office curse of an NC-17 rating, but the final product is one of the most blatantly crass motion pictures of all-time-in a good way. In any normal film, it takes multiple torrid love scenes, a heaping helping of gratuitous violence and a healthy dose of foul language to warrant such a risqu rating. But “Team America” has retained all of these elements, attaching the depravity to a group of hi-fi, live action marionettes. Parker and Stone succeeded where so many have failed: They made a bunch of puppets genuinely offensive.

That’s right, the entire cast is composed of wooden caricatures, personified by the voices (and presumably fingers) of Stone and Parker. Forging action extravaganzas on par with the best of Bruckheimer, pure passion la Larry Flynt, and heartstring-tugging (best embodied by the epic montage “I Miss You Almost As Much Pearl Harbor Sucks”), this daring duo have done it all with just the tips of their fingers.

Amid the smoldering ashes of the Eiffel Tower, Team America makes its introduction. Bleeding red, white and blue devotion, this terrorist-terminating taskforce knows no bounds when it comes to eliminating the infamous threat posed by weapons of mass destruction. In hot pursuit of a gang of token Middle Eastern trouble-makers over Parisian cobblestones and pugnacious stereotypes, the world police corner their prey in the solemn halls of the Louvre.

Clearly, there is only one reasonable thing to do: Blow it all to hell.

While basking in the embers of their valiant devastation, “Team America” member Carson, freezes time to propose marriage to crew psychologist/unrequited love Lisa. No sooner than Carson popped the question, does a rogue terrorist leap from a fountain and gun him down in slow-motion cold blood.

But it’s not really that big of a deal-one man down, the team is left searching for a replacement that can infiltrate terrorist rank and destroy its evil from within. Enter Gary Johnston, a Broadway star with a double major in theater and foreign language. He is the “perfect weapon,” as team mentor Spottswoode explains. Once again at full force, the world police must foil the schemes of an oh-so-lonely dictator, Kim Jong Il, whose plans for world domination aim only to provide him a bit of tender loving care.

Equally dangerous, yet a bit more dimwitted than Jon Il, is the F.A.G. (or Film Actors Guild), led by Alec Baldwin and comprised of America’s leading Hollywood hotshots. Fittingly, the F.A.G. becomes a pawn in Kim Jong Il’s death match of global terror.

Guaranteed to offend every single person on this planet at one point or another, “Team America: World Police” is a must-see. Just don’t bring the little ones.

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