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Sunday, April 22, 2007

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

What makes Aqua Teen Hunger Force funny? I’ve been sitting here at my computer trying to find a way to put it into words. There are no lines I could quote here that would be belly-laugh inducing out of context, nor are there any particular highlights that would make me recommend it. The overall effect of the Aqua Teen gestalt, however, is to make you come close to peeing your pants (and maybe even change your name to MC Pee Pants).

Perhaps the most amazing thing is that I’ve been watching it since it made its debut in the fall of 2001, and I still find it funny. How many jokes can you make out of sentient fast food, space aliens and suburban New Jersey? Show creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis answer this question with Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, a feature film that relentlessly drains every possible drop of humor out of its source.

For those of you who have never heard of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, let me explain the basic premise: Frylock (Carey Means), a cynical, airborne box of fried, Shake (Dana Snyder), an egotistical and oversexed milkshake, and Meatwad (Dave Willis), an amorphous and hirsute hunk of ground beef (we think) all live in suburban New Jersey together. They have adventures with space aliens (like the Mooninites, Ignignokt and Err) and with their neighbor, Carl. There is no water involved nor are there any teens (although the protagonists certainly act like adolescents). The show, which only lasts 10-15 minutes on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim, is an absurd parody of situation comedy that pokes fun at cookie-cutter television by placing bizarre characters in formulaic situations. It’s very funny, but it’s not the kind of show that a person can tolerate for very long. I was surprised, then, to find that Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters did a pretty decent job for engaging my attention without exasperating me, at least for the first 45 minutes. The stream-of-consciousness plot, involving a futuristic exercise machine that could destroy the world, is only superficially important and only sometimes clever (kudos to the writer for making the MacGuffin a computer motherboard shaped like a giant “M”) but the film contains enough laughs to keep the audience consistently entertained. I hate to fall into fangirl mode when critiquing a movie, but I have to admit I clapped when the Mooninites came on screen. And maybe that’s part of why Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters works with its target audience: it capitalizes on their nostalgia for all those late nights in college filled with kind bud, cheap beer and basic cable. The animation is crude, the jokes are juvenile and the plot is stupid, but for those who cut their teeth of Aqua Teen shorts, it is definitely worth the price of admission.
Watch a clip and judge for yourself:


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