Film reviews and more since 2009

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut (25th Anniversary re-release) review

Dir. Trey Parker

By: Steve Pulaski

Rating: ★★★½

NOTE: The following piece is a mix of my original review of South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut, published in 2012, with updated writing after seeing the 25th Anniversary Sing-a-Long re-release via Fathom Events on Sunday, June 23rd, 2024.

What a joy it was not only to experience South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut in theaters for the very first time, but also have it be presented as a “sing-a-long.” It dawned on me just before the showing that, to date, the only time one would’ve been able to experience South Park on the big screen would’ve been in 1999 when the first (and only) feature film was released.

I got to see this re-release with my girlfriend and several of the people behind Are You Dead Yet?, a crowdfunded horror movie shot in my city, Dubuque. I cannot explain how wide our smiles were, harmonizing songs like “Uncle Fucka,” “Kyle’s Mom’s a Bitch,” and “What Would Brian Boitano Do?” in a packed house on a late-Sunday afternoon. Just pure jubilation, made even more enjoyable by a film as well-rounded and as complete as this one.

South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut is one of the smartest and most creative animated movies. It is an unforgettable excursion, not only providing a plethora of good, and bad, laughs, but also giving us hefty commentary on social issues in conjunction with a delightfully brilliant satire on customs, war, vague xenophobia, and the handling of strong moral issues.

Our story centers around the mountain town of South Park, Colorado where our four boys — Kyle, Stan, Cartman, and Kenny (voiced by Parker and Stone) — foul-mouthed, ill-behaved elementary schoolers, take a trip to the movies to see the Canadian picture “Terrance and Phillip: Asses on Fire.” The film is vile and littered with foul language, politically incorrectness, and flatulence, and the boys eat it up. They repeat the off color phrases at school, along with the rest of the students. This eventually gets the attention of the boys’ mothers, who, led by Kyle’s mom (the late, great Mary Kay Bergman), wage war against Canada.

If there’s anything the film does extremely well, and there’s a lot, it’s adding in a highly memorable, insanely catchy score. Parker and Stone have incorporated a musical aspect with everyone of their films, except BASEketball. Here, it is fitting, infectious, and witty in its attempts to add zest and flavor to its arguments. Credit must be given to composer Marc Shaiman, who finds the right melodies and styles for each of the numbers, be them classical in their sounds, heavy metal, militaristic, or just gleefully absurd.

This is also a film with something to say about censorship, first amendment rights, parenting, and acting on behaviors impulsively, where the thought of no serious consequences will ever come into play. The film would’ve been over in twenty minutes if the parents sat down with their children and had an honest, open, and influential talk about morals, language, and the media. There is a scene where Mr. Mackey tries to take charge of the issue by getting the kids to replace their “naughty words” with things a bit lighter and less offensive (in the form of song of course). But it doesn’t work. Immediately when they’re released from school, the boys return to the cinemas for an umpteenth helping of “Terrance and Phillip.” It shows that the schools can’t do the job of parenting, and when they try, they fail to reach any point of reason. Parenting should come from the parents. Not third party outlets.

This is truly one of the sharpest satires to come out in years, nonetheless an animated one. I can’t help but laugh at the idea on how seriously some people take the show. The beauty is it is so crudely animated; just vibrant construction paper resembling the look of a grade school project, yet it is so harsh, mean-spirited, violent, vulgar, and sex-driven. South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut basks in the idea of having a full length movie about itself. A movie where truly anything goes. No beeps, blurs, or restrictions. Unadulterated satirical humor combined perfectly with gross out gags and wit to envy. I’ll be damned if it’s not one of the most profound pictures of the nineties.

The moral of the story is simple; embrace satire, because by fearing it you’re proving it correct.

NOTE: South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut will see another 25th Anniversary Sing-a-Long screening on Wednesday, June 26th in select theaters via Fathom Events. It is also available to stream on Paramount+.

My review of South Park: The Pandemic Special
My review of South ParQ: Vaccination Special
My review of South Park: Post COVID
My review of South Park: Post COVID: The Return of COVID
My review of South Park: The Streaming Wars
My review of South Park: The Streaming Wars Part 2
My review of South Park: Joining the Panderverse
My review of South Park: (Not Suitable for Children)
My review of South Park: The End of Obesity

Voiced by: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Mary Kay Bergman, Isaac Hayes, George Clooney, Minnie Driver, and Mike Judge. Directed by: Trey Parker.

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About Steve Pulaski

Steve Pulaski has been reviewing movies since 2009 for a barrage of different outlets. He graduated North Central College in 2018 and currently works as an on-air radio personality. He also hosts a weekly movie podcast called "Sleepless with Steve," dedicated to film and the film industry, on his YouTube channel. In addition to writing, he's a die-hard Chicago Bears fan and has two cats, appropriately named Siskel and Ebert!

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