Capturing the essence of the classic cartoon series while fully utilizing its new, expanded storytelling platform, “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut” is a wholly accurate title for a movie that provides audiences every German shit video and crudely drawn dildo they could have asked for and more. F-bombs and fart jokes are literal music to the ears in this silver screen, animated melody from Colorado’s dick joke virtuosos. While a masterful condemnation of ultra-religion, over-parenting, and hyper-sensitive media are at ply, the film is remarkably understated in its approach, a consistent, less-is-more mentality that’s only broken when beady-eyed Canadians or the dragon-fighting Brian Boitano are being discussed.
We follow the foul-talking Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny as they navigate through South Park’s town center in hopes of seeing the new “Terrence and Phillip” movie, a hyped, potty-mouthed import from our neighbors up north. The boys adopt an even more profane tongue after the credits have rolled, prompting the town’s moms to rile up a posse to save their children. Whom the matriarchs are actually saving their children from is uncertain, perhaps its “Terrence and Phillip,” maybe its Canada at large, it could maybe be that bitch Anne Murray, too. But in the cardboard hubbub, no one seems to notice or care that Kenny has died, that Satan is brewing a revolution on the living world, that Cartman’s mom was an amateur porn star, or that their children are planning their own revolution save their beloved Canadian celebrities.
This expert storytelling, an ode to how America’s problems are the result of or worsened by overreaction or complete ignorance, only becomes more harmonious through “South Park’s” charming songbook. The melodies are of the quality of Rodgers and Hammerstein, the lyrics of the same beauty and grace of Stephen Sondheim, if the lyricist swapped some jets and sharks for more shits and asses. “A Quiet Mountain Town” transitions gracefully” into “Uncle Fucka,” with “Kyle’s Mom is a Big Fat Bitch” and “Quiet Mountain Town” proving to be for devoted fans and casual viewers vulgar earworms that just won’t fuck off.
Even in its short run-time, “South Park” manages to give each of its four primary stars enough emphasis and development to be well-rounded characters (even though their faces were already circles). Stan wants to woo Wendy, Kyle wants to fight back against his mom, Kenny must navigate the underworld and Cartman deals with the ramifications of no more curse words, genuine motivations that push and pull the boys into hellish dramatic depths. It’s the type of high quality cinematic storytelling that wouldn’t be possible with today’s iteration of the cartoon, focused more on being an educated, voice of reason for current events rather than the C-students laughing at CNN.
“South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut” arrived at a time when the series was still immensely popular but hadn’t been labeled as a this or that in an integrated, digital media environment. It was open to discuss whatever it wanted to with no expectations on what it was going to say. How appropriate that Trey Parker and Matt Stone would craft a masterful media satire and Broadway-worthy musical built on one eloquent, eternal theme: Don’t be a dick.