April 19, 2007


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Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters (R)
A box of fries, a wad of meat and an uppity milkshake sort of try to save the world from renegade exercise equipment in Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, a movie which, if you remember, scared the pants off Boston with its marketing campaign.

So, you know, next time we’re feeling all second-rate about our relatively small cities and low incidence of Starbucks and Trader Joes, just remember we didn’t call in the feds for a movie poster.

If you’ve never seen the Cartoon Network show Aqua Teen Hunger Force, well, if you’ve never seen the show, you’re unlikely to see the movie and none of what I’m going to say here makes any sense. Suffice to say that if you are immediately turned off by the idea of an animated wad of meat serving as a central character, also by the presence of a watermelon spacecraft, also by villain who can fit himself inside a chicken, well, then, move along. This isn’t your movie.

If, however, you view Meatwad (Dave Willis) as sort of a loveable Crissy to Master Shake’s (Dana Snyder) Jack and Frylock’s (Carey Means) Janet, then this absurdist Three’s Company is right up your alley. (Actually, that there are three main characters and a neighbor with a Larryesque amount of chest hair is really all that makes this movie anything like Three’s Company. It’s just that I’m talking about anthropomorphic fast food here and there isn’t a really comprehensible way of explaining it.) More or less, this movie gives us the backstory to the trio’s creation and gives them a danger to fight in the form of a self-propagating exercise machine. Those slow-moving, pixilated aliens that so freaked out our neighbors to the south appear here as does the talking slice of watermelon as does the brainless (or, rather, brain-lite) villain Dr. Weird (C. Martin Croker).

“What the hell?” is a common and completely normal response to any given bit of dialogue or visual gag in Aqua Teen Hunger Force — “what the hell?” followed by laughter that, even as it gives you stomach cramps and wets your eyes with tears, you can’t entirely understand. The jokes here have minimal setup and no punchline — it’s free verse animation, with aliens and fast food and a guy named Carl. It is funny in a kind of punch-drunk way on Adult Swim, the block of animation that appears on Cartoon Network, and it remains funny in the theater perhaps because it’s all so weird and un-movie-theater like. I almost couldn’t believe I’d paid actual money to see this and yet I didn’t feel that money was wasted either. And honestly, to see the dancing popcorn and candy boxes of the “let’s all go to the lobby” parody get upstaged by a metal band made of nachos and other more “dangerous” movie snacks in the movie’s opening short, I think I’d pay to see Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters again. B

Rated R for crude and sexual humor, violent images and language. Directed by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis and written by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis, Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters is an hour and 26 minutes long and is distributed in somewhat wide release by First Look Pictures.