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Dustin Putman

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Learn more about this film on IMDb!Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters  (2007)
2 Stars
Directed by Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis
Voice Cast: Dana Snyder, Dave Willis, Carey Means, Andy Merrill, Mike Schatz, Matt Maiellaro, Fred Armisen, Bruce Campbell, C. Martin Croker, Chris Kattan, George Lowe, Chris Ward
2007 – 86 minutes
Rated: Rated R (for crude and sexual humor, violent images and language).
Reviewed by Dustin Putman, April 14, 2007.
In January 2007, the promotion for "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" got jumpstarted with more publicity than anyone could have imagined when phony-looking electronic devices—no more threatening than a 1980s-era Lite-Brite—were planted in several cities across the U.S. In a time and country where knee-jerk overreactions run rampant, Boston came almost literally to a standstill because of these advertisements, with bomb squads and Homeland Security teams called in to waste millions of dollars and transform the city into a laughing stock. As an unnecessary result, people were arrested on felony charges and the head of the Cartoon Network even lost his job. All of these events were unfortunate, to say the least, but they were felicitous.

Based on the cult cartoon series, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters"—a derivative title that would not exist without the release of 2006's "Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan"—prides itself on an anti-establishment, down-with-the-republic, anything-goes, rock-'n'-roll attitude, and is thoroughly unapologetic that it is barely a "movie film" at all. To try and follow the plot is to miss the point; there barely is a clothesline narrative, and what does exist of one is just about incomprehensible anyway. Instead, writer-directors Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis throw joke after joke, sight gag after sight gag, pop-culture reference after pop-culture reference, and one-liner after one-liner at the screen and cross their fingers that one out of ten stick. They roughly succeed at that ratio—the majority of the material is either flat-footed or too basely immature to work—but when the comedy does hit the target it goes beyond merely funny and into cackle territory.

You want an attempt at a synopsis? Here goes. For the uninitiated, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force is made up of three best friends, all of them living and breathing fast-food items. When milkshake Master Shake (voiced by Dana Snyder), packet of French fries Frylock (Carey Means), and meatball Meatwad (Dave Willis) receive a super-fancy exercise gadget called an Insanoflex, the robotic contraption goes haywire and threatens to overrun the town. Hot on the trail are three dim-witted pals from the past (and outer space), one of them the future inventor of the Insanoflex, who must put a stop to the uprising before mankind is destroyed. Not to be outdone, the evil Dr. Weird (C. Martin Croker) wants to steal the muscle mass from every body the Insanoflex rips and rule the world as a result. Or something like that.

The story is pointless, so disconnected from the flurry of coarsely animated images going by that when the movie ends, one has to do a double-take in order to remember if a conclusion even existed, or if it just switched to end credits at random. The characters are a surprisingly winning lot, from the spunky leads (Meatwad is adorable), to the trio of sex-obsessed aliens who come to earth to retrieve the exercise machine, to the two silly, sassy Atari figures who pride themselves on being thieves but are too inept to prove the least bit devious. Nevertheless, the viewer doesn't actually care about these broad cartoon characters; they serve their purpose, but are in what amounts to eight 10-minute skits strung together and padded out to a lugubrious degree.

Taken on a joke-by-joke basis, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" does have some priceless moments. If nothing else, it can lay claim to being the only film in memory that had me in tears of hysterical laughter before the studio logos came up. A take-off of those old "let's-all-go-to-the-lobby" commercials, the masterful opening finds singing and dancing refreshments getting more than they bargain for when they ask a band of motley crew food and drinks to explain movie theater etiquette. Among other things, they instruct any fools with a baby to "take their seed" out of the theater and for other patrons to run the child over with a car. No more details will be mentioned about this because (1) it is the highlight of the entire picture and (2) it is so crudely brilliant and honest and original that spoiling it would be criminal. Suffice it to say, there are other laughs to be had—a segment with Abraham Lincoln has a devilish payoff involving race relations, for example—but none that come close to equaling the first five minutes.

Is "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" worth recommending? That is a tough call, but one that will be up to the personal preference of the individual moviegoer. The easily offended need not do so much as consider watching it; they will hate it from the start. Meanwhile, fans of the Cartoon Channel series and other similar shows such as the more satirical and incisive "South Park" will enjoy themselves, but even then this is best left for home viewing. As schizophrenic as it might sound, "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" is all of the following: goofy, tasteless, joyous, painful, ingenious, boring, delightful, and utterly lacking in consequence.
© 2007 by Dustin Putman
Dustin Putman