Photo by Joan Marcus
The Book of Mormon
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Trey Parker, Matt Stone, and Robert Lopez, with the help of Casey Nicholaw, Parker’s co-director, have delivered what Joseph Smith, Jr., and his father were looking for in 1823: a gold mine. Parker and Stone’s sendup of religious fundamentalism is painted in broad acrylic strokes, shocking enough to elicit laughs but not deep enough to generate understanding. It’s really a retooled buddy movie, in which two Mormon missionaries—Elder Cunningham (the charming Josh Gad), a fat, shambolic, insecure schlub, and Elder Price (the expert Andrew Rannells), a lean, tight-assed, megalomaniacal dickhead—take a road trip to Uganda. For all the show’s refreshing novelty, it cops out almost completely at the finale, giving the entire cast of the credulous a free moral pass.