"South Park," or to refer to it by the correct name, "South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut," which it is in every sense of the word, is the brightest, wittiest, most deliciously subversive film to arrive in this so-far dismal summer. It asks the question: Is nothing sacred? And the answer is, not in this movie, and we're all the better for it.
If you haven't yet caught up with Cartman, Stan, Kyle, and little Kenny, this is your chance. Third-graders in the Colorado mountain town of South Park, which encapsulates in its little population every moronic value you've ever been offended by in American life, they start out the film by trying to get into either one of two R-rated Canadian exploitation films, "Asses of Fire," or "Asses of Ice," which happen to be playing at the local duplex cinema and star the supposedly famous Canadian comic team of Terrance and Phillip, who spend the film trading foul language and jokes. No problem getting the kids in, once they find a homeless man and give him $10 for a bottle of vodka so he'll buy their tickets.
In a parallel story, we meet Satan and Saddam Hussein, who are lovers in hell. While Saddam enjoys life and lots of great sex with Satan, Satan wistfully thinks about abandoning hell and moving somewhere upstairs. An interesting concept.
Meanwhile, Kyle's mother, Sheila Broflovski, offended by all the bad words her son is using since he saw the movie, forms Mothers Against Canada, to strike back at the obscene invasion from the north. President Clinton summons the armed forces, and of course the lead battalion, which will suffer the greatest casualties, is all black. Mrs. Broflovski has Terrance and Phillip captured, and war with Canada is in the air. T and P are to be executed the next night during a USO show. Can the execution be stopped in time?
Of course, the Canadians aren't just sitting around waiting to be obliterated. They retaliate by sending their smart bombs to wipe out the entire Alec Baldwin acting family.
And there's more. An American scientist invents a V-chip that is implanted in Cartman's brain, to give him an electric shock every time he says a bad word. Pretty soon the zaps are nearly constant.
What have I left out? Did I mention the large penis? Or the very hellish animation of Satan's realm? Or Isaac Hayes's Chef? Or all the subliminal in-jokes that flash by in a frame or two? This is a film, like episodes of "The Simpsons," that you'll want to freeze-frame every few moments, once it comes out on video, so you can unravel all the hidden jokes.
But the important thing here is that we are watching the best rationale for the First Amendment in years. Sheila herself puts it best: "Horrific, deplorable violence is okay as long as people don't say naughty words." Since the film itself was originally given an NC-17 rating by the MPAA (Why? It's animated, for God's sake), you may not believe me when I tell you that Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who wrote and directed it, actually had to make cuts in the film in order to get the rating changed to R. Such is the power of art, when confronting the philistines. Who'll win? It's an open question.