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R Sex for "Team America" Puppets   |   08 October 2004

The Team America: World Police wooden puppets' sex scenes have been chipped down to an R rating.

After what has been, reportedly, lengthy dickering and bickering Matt Stone and Trey Parker , the South Park creators responsible for this cheekily politically incorrect marionette action spoof, and the Motion Picture Association of America watchdogs, who sets ratings guidelines, reached an edit compromise.

The R rating makes the non PC movie more legitimately accessible to the youth audience than the ultra restrictive, box-office poison, NC-17 rating that bars anyone under 17, originally slapped on the Paramount satire, which is being promoted with the advertising tagline "Putting the 'F' back in Freedom."

However the final edit doesn't make the filmmakers entirely happy. Stone is quoted as saying, "The puppets did make love for about three and half minutes, now it's just a cheap one-night stand."

The puppets were not anatomically correct and the filmmakers say they were not used any differently the kids might when playing with dolls.

"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 Los Angeles Times.

Producer Scott Rudin says that at least nine edits of the puppet love scene were shown to the MPAA before the board accepted that it had been toned down enough to qualify for an R, which requires anyone under 17 to be accompanied by a parent or adult guardian. The Restricted tag warning says the rating is for "graphic, crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language, all involving puppets."

"There's nothing we're asking for that hasn't appeared in other R-rated movies, and our characters are made of wood," Rudin told the Times during the struggle to find a compromise.

The final decision was reached Tuesday just in time for the outrageous comedy's sneak preview in 800 theaters this weekend, prior to its October 15 opening nationwide.

The movie, lampooning the action genre, features international cops trying to stop a rogue dictator, in the guise of North Korea's Kim Jong-Il, from selling weapons of mass destruction to terrorists. The MPAA viewing police apparently also weren't happy with a scene that shows WMD inspector Hans Blix eaten by the dictator's sharks. The film also includes a sequence in which Hollywood liberal Susan Sarandon is dropped from a skyscraper and her equally political partner Tim Robbins is set on fire.

But Parker says nevertheless it was the puppet sex that the MPAA saw as a much bigger no-no than any of the violence.

Paramount had hoped for an R rating and a spokesperson said the studio was "happy" it had been achieved. The MPAA didn't return a phone call seeking comment.

[ source: E! ]


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