Team America: World Police: According to Variety, Paramount Pictures fully expects action spoof Team America: World Police to be replete with the trademark tastelessness for which "South Park" honchos Trey Parker and Matt Stone are known when it opens October 15th.

But getting that R will be an interesting insight into the MPAA's standards in the post-Janet Jackson Nipplegate era.

Despite recent Internet reports that "Team America" was headed toward an NC-17, Parker and Stone are contractually obligated to deliver a cut that gets an R rating from the MPAA. The duo's past history, though, suggests the ratings board will have its work cut out for it.

Five years ago, the two negotiated their way to an R on South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, which revolved around grade-schoolers Stan, Kyle, Cartman and Kenny becoming even more foul-mouthed after infiltrating an NC-17 movie, "Asses on Fire."

The ratings board had its hands full with the pic, and negotiations went back and forth on an array of issues, ranging from the depiction of Saddam Hussein being sodomized to the etymological nuances of "rim job."

The duo's new pic promises to provoke similar debate, but the filmmakers insist their political barbs are aimed at all targets.

Despite trepidation among a few conservatives that "Team America" -- played entirely by puppets inspired by the original "Thunderbirds" marionettes -- will slam the U.S. war in Iraq, Parker and Stone promise to be equal-opportunity offenders.

Plot centers on a prototypical action hero who's drafted to help Team America -- headquartered in Mount Rushmore -- thwart evil forces and deal with a world full of crude behavior.

Brian B.