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South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut

Published: Wednesday, Sept. 1 2004 1:02 p.m. MDT

Surprise, surprise. The movie version of "South Park" is just like episodes of the cable-television series — except that it's more than twice as long as the show is and it's infinitely more dirty-minded.

Stress the longer part, because even 80 minutes of this boring animated comedy/musical feels so long that it will seriously test any moviegoer's patience — even fans of the show, who will probably be disappointed.

What's most irritating about the movie — aside from the fact that it's been inadvertently marketed to teens, who are the last people who should be seeing it — is that it has a point about censorship and similar knee-jerk reactions. But it's buried under tons of politically incorrect humor, including excessive profanity and crude gags, as well as some racially insensitive portions, which isn't exactly the right way to make the message be heard.

In other words, this film is not for kids, teens, the easily offended or anyone with any sense of taste . . . basically everyone, really.

Also, it should be noted that the movie's title isn't quite true: Cuts were made to ensure the film could get an R rating. But you'd be hard pressed to figure out what material could have been worse than what's already in there.

What plot there is concerns the young inhabitants of South Park, Colo., who set off a national controversy. The four pals — Stan, Kenny, Cartman and the always-unfortunate Kenny — into an R-rated film, which influences their collective vocabularies for the worse.

After shocking their third-grade teacher and principal with a string of obscenities, they're grounded by their parents, who arrest the film's Canadian performers. Their censorship efforts also lead to anti-Canadian bigotry and even start a war with that country.

Unbeknownst to the adults, though, Satan and his new partner Saddam Hussein are waiting in hell and are preparing for the resulting bloodshed, which will begin their reign of terror on Earth. So it's up to the kids and the recently-departed Kenny to save humanity from itself.

As mentioned, filmmakers Trey Parker and Matt Stone (who also voice most of the characters) actually attempt to make a point here. But they fumble their way through the story so badly that it gets lost amidst all the chaos.

Of course, it doesn't help that they've stretched what's perhaps 30 minutes worth of material into a full-length film. As a result, the film feels ridiculously padded, thanks to the inclusion of several musical numbers, which aren't nearly as entertaining as obviously intended.

"South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut" is rated R for abundant profanity, wartime violence (gunplay and explosions), excessive use of vulgar sexual slang terms and crude humor (among them, series of flatulence jokes), considerable gore, female and male nudity, a couple of sex scenes (overheard) and use of racial epithets and ethnic slurs.