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THE AISLE SEAT - by Mike McGranaghan


About seven years ago, I received a videocassette in the mail from Cartoon Network. They were promoting a new show that was about to air, and they wanted to get some reviews of it. Although I don’t typically review TV shows, I popped the tape in and was so amused by what I saw, that I relented and did a little write-up about the program. That show was “Aqua Teen Hunger Force.” Since then, I’ve caught the popular Adult Swim program only once or twice more. Its cult following is apparently sufficient that someone decided the idea could sustain a feature-length film. My favorite movie title of last year was Borat: Cultural Learnings of America for Make Benefit Glorious Nation of Kazakhstan. In 2007, it will be awfully hard to beat Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters.

If this isn’t the strangest movie ever made, it’s darn close. The main characters are a meatball (“Meatwad”), a milk shake (“Master Shake”), and a french fry container (“Frylock”). Here’s the plot: the three characters try to figure out their own origins while also stopping a piece of demonic exercise equipment that wants to take over the world.

And that’s really all there is to say about it. ATHFCMFFT (as I will affectionately dub it) isn’t particularly interested in telling you a story. In fact, at its conclusion, nothing is really resolved and the ending comes abruptly, almost as though the film gets tired of itself. That’s part of the joke, though. Creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis are interested in the comic art of the non sequitur. The scenes and events in the movie are rarely connected to each other, and they purposefully add up to nothing. Everything that happens seems tangential – like it’s being made up randomly. That quality extends to the dialogue. If you can find a coherent exchange of dialogue anywhere in this picture, I commend you.

This free form style will either mesmerize or infuriate you. For me, it was the former. There’s just no getting around the fact that I laughed. ATHF begins with one of the most brilliant things I’ve seen in years, a sexually-charged parody of those concession stand ads with singing/dancing food. At one point, the cartoon hot dog reminds you not to pull your genitals out during the movie, as indecent exposure is illegal. The scene then morphs into an outrageous parody of those “movie etiquette” clips. A thrash metal band comprised of angry-looking junk food products threatens you with grievous bodily harm if you talk or kick the seat of the person in front of you. One of the more memorable lyrics addresses people who bring infants into movies. “Leave your kid out in the street,” the food band warns. “Run over him with your car on the way home.” This sequence ought to be shown in every theater, before every movie. It certainly beats those singing frogs from Meet the Robinsons.

There’s no explaining this kind of thing to someone else. You either get it or you don’t. There is a character in the movie named “MC Pee Pants.” There is a robot that likes to hump things. A flaming chicken runs around a room at one point. A talking meatball is the central character, for crying out loud! You don’t need me to tell you whether or not you’ll like this film. You already know.

I have to confess that “weird” goes a long way with me. Why this is so is anyone’s guess and not something I necessary care to analyze. If a film is unabashedly full-throttle weird, there’s a decent chance that I will be amused and/or entertained by the trippy nature of it. That was the case here. I have never taken an illegal substance; movies have always been my drug of choice, and Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters was like a big old cinematic acid trip.

( out of four)

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters is rated R for crude and sexual humor, violent images and language. The running time is 1 hour and 26 minutes.

To learn more about this film, check out Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

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