Home > Reviews > SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT – Marc Shaiman and Trey Parker

SOUTH PARK: BIGGER, LONGER & UNCUT – Marc Shaiman and Trey Parker

southparkOriginal Review by Jonathan Broxton

For anyone who has been living in a cocoon for the last few years, South Park is an animated TV series created by Trey Parker and Matt Stone, set an the isolated Colorado town, and is all about four eight-year-old friends (Stan Marsh, Kyle Broflovsky, Eric Cartman and the immortal Kenny McCormick) who, quite simply, wreak havoc in every episode, aided and abetted by recurring characters such as the sex machine school Chef (voiced by Isaac Hayes), Stan’s girlfriend Wendy Testaburger (who gets puked upon whenever Stan talks to her because he’s so nervous), and kooky schoolteachers Mr. Mackey and Mr. Garrison, who wears a puppet on his left hand called “Mr. Hat”. The thing about South Park is the style – the animation is extremely crude and simplistic, but the scripts are ironic, satirical, and surprisingly intelligent, with messages and morals easily identifiable in amongst each episode’s gross-out gags.

This big screen version takes the series a step further by having the four buddies embark on a new adventure, but this is definitely not a cartoon for the kiddies. The amount bad language in this movie is awesome! After sneaking in to see “Asses of Fire”, a movie starring their favorite scatological Canadian actors Terrence and Phillip, the South Park kids are so overwhelmed by what they see and hear that they start spouting an amazing series of inventively crude obscenities, upsetting their parents and the authorities to such an extent that the USA declares war on Canada. Then, when Kenny is killed in a freak accident involving his backside, a cigarette lighter and a baked potato, it becomes apparent that the imminent execution Terrence and Phillip will be the catalyst for Satan and his new homosexual lover Saddam Hussein to ascend from Hell and take over the Earth! Only Kyle, Stan and Cartman can save the day – but will they do it without being grounded? Will Cartman’s V-chip implant continue to stunt his vocabulary? And will Stan EVER the clitoris? I laughed till I ached…

Of all the composers working in Hollywood today, it is almost inevitable that Marc Shaiman would be the one who ended up scoring this movie. From what I know of his personality, only Shaiman has the sense of humor, comic invention and sheer brass cojones to be able to turn this version of South Park into what is – for all intents and purposes, a Disney parody which mercilessly lampoons Alan Menken for all it’s worth. With Trey Parker contributing additional music and lyrics, the twelve original songs written by them for the musical numbers are some of the most profane, depraved, puerile, funny, clever, brilliant pieces I have heard for absolutely ages. In terms of musical score, South Park is not particularly impressive, although the orchestral opening moments of ‘Mountain Town’ briefly recall Shaiman’s magical score for The American President. However, it is in the song lyrics and the seemingly superfluous touches where South Park’s brilliance lies. Neither Trey Parker or Matt Stone can sing to save their lives, but hearing them acting out Cartman, Kyle and Stan’s voices is inspiring stuff, and gives hope to anyone who thinks they can hold a tune.

I love the way the chorus of ‘Mountain Town’ keeps picking up more and more derogatory descriptive nouns as it progresses – redneck, white trash, podunk, piss-ant – and the way in which a whole ream of clever sound effects are incorporated into the mix. After the comparatively wholesome opening, the buoyant refrain of ‘Uncle Fucka’ comes as something of a shock, as do the flatulence noises that follow, as does the serious-sounding male voice choir chanting and cooing in the background. But it’s the little throwaway “suck my balls” at the very end which cracks me up every time.

‘It’s Easy Mmkay’ is pure, knockabout showstopping fun, with a Pygmalion-style chorus; ‘Blame Canada’ decries everything about the maple leaf nation, from their “beady eyes and flapping heads” and their affinity for ice hockey, to Anne Murray to Celine Dion; ‘What Would Brian Boitano Do?’ has that kind of Broadway rocking, inspirational “let’s put on a show” style while, in ‘Kyle’s Mom’s A Bitch’, Cartman comes up with one of the worst insults imaginable – she has stupid hair! The magnificent “La Resistance Medley” is probably the best of the lot, musically speaking, weaving in the refrains of ‘Uncle Fucka’, ‘Blame Canada’ and Satan’s self-reflecting lament ‘Up There’ into a new Les Miserables-style “motivational” song, which describes the way Kyle and Stan could be captured and killed by the enemy, and in increasingly gruesome detail.

Surely the most tasteless song of them all, though, is the Middle Eastern-pastiche ‘I Can Change’ in which Saddam Hussein admits to being a dirty little bastard, is called a sandy little butthole, and tries to seduce Satan. In Big Gay Al’s hilariously overblown ‘I’m Super’, the carefree life of a Las Vegas-based out-and-proud homosexual is shown for all to see (in this scene in the movie, an animated Shaiman can be seen accompanying Big Gay Al at the piano). And I’m sure I heard something about someone called Steve detailing your car for $20 during ‘Eyes of a Child’.

Let’s get one thing straight – South Park: Bigger Longer & Uncut’s whole reason for existing is to make the listener laugh, and it achieves its aims and then some. For the delicate and sensitive, the relentless swearing may prove unpalatable, as might the unapologetic references to homosexuality and Satan-worshipping, but for anyone who shares the same sense of humor as I do, this is a treat from start to finish. OK, so the seven “interpretations” at the end of the album are a bit shitty, but Shaiman and Parker’s twelve originals are the stuff of absolute genius. I for one would love to see Mountain Town, Blame Canada and Up There all nominated for Best Original Song at the Oscars next year, if only to see how they would perform them on stage!

Rating: ****

Track Listing:

  • Mountain Town (4:27)
  • Uncle Fucka (1:06)
  • It’s Easy, Mmkay (1:54)
  • Blame Canada (1:35)
  • Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch (1:15)
  • What Would Brian Boitano Do? (1:34)
  • Up There (2:23)
  • La Resistance Medley (1:52)
  • Eyes of a Child (3:39)
  • I Can Change (2:05)
  • I’m Super (1:26)
  • Mountain Town Reprise (1:02)
  • Good Love (performed by Isaac Hayes) (3:31)
  • Shut Yo Face (Uncle Fucka) (performed by Trick Daddy featuring Trina & Tre +6) (3:59)
  • Riches to Rags (Mmkay) (performed by Nappy Roots) (4:31)
  • Kyle’s Mom’s a Big Fat Bitch (performed by Joe C featuring Kid Rock) (3:54)
  • What Would Brian Boitano Do? Part II (performed by DVDA) (2:14)
  • I Swear It (I Can Change) (performed by Violent Femmes) (2:44)
  • Super (performed by RuPaul) (4:04)
  • O Canada (performed by Geddy Lee and Alex Lifeson of Rush featuring Terrence and Phillip) (1:10)

Running Time: 50 minutes 36 seconds

Atlantic 7567-83199-2 (1999)

Voice cast: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, Howard McGillin and Michael McDonald.

Music by Marc Shaiman. Conducted by Pete Anthony. Additional music and lyrics by Trey Parker. Orchestrations by Jeff Atmajian, Pete Anthony, Frank Bennett, Larry Blank, Harvey Cohen and Patrick Russ. Recorded and mixed by Dennis Sands and Tim Boyle. Mastered by Tony Dawsey. Album produced by Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Marc Shaiman.

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