Before we get into this review, please go ahead and Google the movie “BASEketball”. Go ahead, I’ll wait. One year before South Park Creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone released the theatrical debut of South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut – they released BASEketball. I remember eagerly waiting in line to see this movie as I was a diehard South Park fan with Parker and Stone being my personal heroes. I “get” their comedy. I get the wit and satire that is hidden within a healthy dose of obscenity, immaturity, silliness, and just the right amount of innocence. When going into see BASEketball, I expected to see more of the same; unfortunately, I was really disappointed with what I saw. I felt that Parker and Stone tried to take their secret sauce and water it down to appeal to the masses and, as a result of doing so, the movie lost its edge. It felt more like a rip off of their style of comedy in an attempt to satisfy everyone.
Now, if you had Googled BASEketball, you would see that with a 42% score on Rotten Tomatoes, many people would agree with me. That being said, I saw BASEketball as a one-off due to the fact that the aforementioned South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut (BLU) and Team America: World Police were subsequently released and both made me very happy. To this day, after 20 seasons and 277 episodes, I am still very much a fan. So, when Book of Mormon was released on Broadway in 2011 to amazing reviews, I was excited. Over the years, I’ve always wanted to go to the Eugene O'Neill Theater to view what, at least what I was led to believe, was a masterpiece. For the first few years, it was impossible to get tickets. Book of Mormon in 2011-2014 was what Hamilton is today. Even though I live in New York, I didn’t have enough time to break away to see the Book of Mormon until this month. On the way to the Eugene O'Neill Theater, I was so excited. I had heard so many great things and was confident that I would love it. I told everyone I was going and was assured that I would enjoy it – especially if I was a South Park fan. Nuh uh…
In the opening act, I knew there was a problem. People around me were smiling and laughing but I was just bored. Gone was the wit – the satire and, in its place (like BASEketball) it just seemed dumb and watered down. The jokes just seemed to be there for the shock value – but mildly shocking – rather than anything that pushes boundaries like South Park does even to this day. I hate to say this but there wasn’t a single time where I laughed or even chuckled to myself. In all honesty, I was bored. I even felt that the quality of the songs were pale in comparison to BLU and Team America. I still sing “Kyle’s Mom is a B****” and “Uncle Fu****” (in my head of course) to this day; however, ask me to belt out a few lines of ANY song from this play and I would be hard-pressed to do it.
I think I probably spent more time in this review writing about South Park than I did about The Book of Mormon. That should go to show you how I felt about this play. It is forgettable. It is not funny. It is boring. It is something that has been watered down in order to appeal to the masses; and that’s ok – it’s just not for me. If you DON’T like South Park, you probably will enjoy it; however, if you are a diehard fan of Trey Parker and Matt Stone, skip this one as you will be underwhelmed with what you see.