Who knew that North Korean dictator Kim Jong Il sounds exactly like Eric Cartman from “South Park”?

It’s one of the revelations in the bloody, profane, explosively funny “Team America: World Police,” which was made by “South Park” creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker, whose vocal work links Cartman and Kim. Featuring a “Mission: Impossible”-like cadre of international crime-fighting marionettes, “Team America” is a spoof of movie cliches, plus a little political satire, hilarious songs, a primo joke about “Cats” and expluppet sex.

As in “South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut,” the highlight of “Team America” is the songs. About half of them are full-on production numbers, including one for Kim. The others tweak the yawn-producing songs that pop up as underscoring in action movies. One is a macho knockoff of “Danger Zone” from “Top Gun,” another sounds like “Holding Out for a Hero” and there’s a syrupy ballad that would be perfect for Aerosmith to warble over the love scene in a Bruce Willis bomb (the romantic lead sings, “I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark when he made “Pearl Harbor’/I need you like Ben Affleck needs acting school”).

Stone and Parker have a vicious gift for spotting what’s ridiculous in pop culture, whether it’s sanctimonious actors getting in over their heads (Susan Sarandon and Janeane Garofalo are dispatched with maximum brutality), idiotic action-film dialogue (“I feel so c-c-cold,” whimpers a dying hero) or the notion that do-gooding America is the center of the world (Cairo, for instance, is identified as “5,621 miles east of America”). Plus, some stuff is funny simply because it’s being done by puppets on obsessive-compulsively detailed re-creations of Times Square and Paris.

There are a few dead spots in “Team America,” but it even made me rethink my objection to tired jokes that poke fun at the “You had me at hello” line from “Jerry Maguire.” “Team America” rips off a “You had me” joke and makes even that cliche seem fresh and very, very funny.

Rated: R for nonstop profanity and violence. Rating: 3 out of 4 stars.


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