Wednesday, October 06, 2004

New R-rated puppet movie

"Hollywood's film ratings board reached accord with producers on Tuesday over how much puppet sex moviegoers under age 17 are allowed to see in an upcoming action-thriller spoof starring a cast of marionettes.

"Team America: World Police" received an R rating from the Motion Picture Association of America after producers made several changes to the film to avoid the more restrictive NC-17 label, officials from the MPAA and distributor Paramount Pictures confirmed.

Agreement on a rating for the film from Matt Stone and Trey Parker -- creators of the animated cable TV series "South Park" -- came just four days before the movie is slated to open for "sneak previews" in 800 theaters nationwide.

But according to the Los Angeles Times, the MPAA board and the film's producers were at odds over a scene that depicts simulated sex between the wooden marionettes.

"There's nothing we're asking for that hasn't appeared in other R-rated movies, and our characters are made of wood," (producer Scott) Rudin told the newspaper.

Parker added: "It's something we all did as kids with Barbie and Ken dolls. ... The whole joke of it is that it's just two dolls flopping around on each other. You see the hinges on their legs."

Parker told the newspaper he was surprised that the MPAA seemed more concerned with sex than violence in his film, which he said includes scenes in which a puppet likeness of actor Tim Robbins is set on fire and a Susan Sarandon puppet is dropped from a high-rise building.

The film, inspired by the marionette animation of the British TV series "Thunderbirds," is a send-up of the high-octane action genre. It centers on an international police force that fights to thwart a power-hungry dictator, depicted as North Korean leader Kim Jong-il, from brokering weapons of mass destruction to terrorists.

The film also lampoons several of Hollywood's most outspoken liberal activists, including Robbins, Sarandon and filmmaker Michael Moore."

Yet another movie that can't come too soon. Sigh, always looking to the future, I am.

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