Mark Reviews Movies


1 Star (out of 4)

Directors: Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis

Cast: The voices of Dana Snyder, Dave Willis, Carey Means, Andy Merrill, Mike Schatz, Matt Maiellaro, Fred Armisen, Bruce Campbell, C. Martin Croker, Chris Kattan, Tina Fey

MPAA Rating: R  (for crude and sexual humor, violent images and language)

Running Time: 1:26

Release Date: 4/13/07

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Review by Mark Dujsik

I sat in the brightened theater. A critic turned to those remaining and asked, "Does anybody watch this show?"  One raised his hand; I timidly raised mine. I like "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" as it's meant to be taken: in small, under-15-minute spurts. I didn't feel too much like defending the show's concept of completely random humor aimed at college-aged stoners after suffering through the misguidedly feature-length escapades of a pack of fries, a milk shake, and a wad of meat, laboriously titled (I hate having to write this) Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters. It was enough of a challenge to sit through it. You either like "Aqua Teen Hunger Force," or you've never heard of it. If you've never heard of it, this review will mean nothing to you. If you like it (again, as I do), this review will probably mean less. There's little to say about the movie except that its concept doesn't last for or warrant an hour and twenty-odd minutes. It's funny for about ten of them and then painful for the rest.

For those not in the know, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force consists of Frylock (voice of Carey Means), Master Shake (voice of Dana Snyder), and Meatwad (voice of co-director Dave Willis) (if you can figure out the food product that relates to the name, you're partly on your way), who are supposed to go around solving mysteries but typically find themselves in the midst of some utterly bizarre happenings to which they don't give a second thought. The movie proper opens with a shot of the Sphinx holding a cup with the subtitle "Millions of year ago, 3 PM, New York, 1492," and then a plane flies overhead. Sorry, I gave away the movie's best joke there. The Aqua Teens emerge from the statue's rear end and battle a giant, fire-breathing poodle. Frylock dies, there's something about a witch-doctor Abraham Lincoln bringing him back to life, and then the trio is getting ready for a concert in the backyard of their New Jersey home, testing out the cannons that fire cats. There is, sadly, a plot here, and it involves an exercise machine that comes to life, captures their neighbor Carl (also the voice of Willis), and goes on a destructive binge.

Yeah, it's random. There's also a slice of watermelon named Walter Melon (voice of Chris Kattan) that flies around with his drummer partner in a hollowed out watermelon and the demented mad scientist Dr. Weird (voice of C. Martin Croker), who may or may not be part of the creation of the Aqua Teens. That's not to mention two pairs of space aliens from Pluto and the moon and the Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past (voice of co-director Matt Maiellaro), who humps inanimate objects. Around the point that the voodoo Lincoln appears, though, the movie has lost its momentum. Appropriately enough, that scene comes around the time an average episode of the show would be ending. When an episode of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" bombs, it only wastes twelve minutes, but when this movie bombs, there's still over another hour to endure. It does become an endurance test, as the show's lynchpin humor of pregnant pauses and long, drawn-out sections of pointless stories and other gags (dialing a long phone number, trying to break into a house only to take the key and leave without getting into the house, Meatwad's attempt to tell why Carl's life is worth living) become redundant and tedious.

Actually, the movie loses its grounding once the actual movie starts, but before that is a legitimately hilarious piece of inspiration. A group of animated food products from the pre-show advertisement for movie concessions sings a tune about the horrible things that will happen to folks who annoy their fellow movie-goers during the screening, only to be one-upped by a death metal band of candy boxes. It should really play before every movie that comes out after this, but that's where this movie's genuine laughs end. Sure, there's an amusing bit where Master Shake gives Meatwad the most obscure sex ed lesson ever, and the late line, "It's like David Cronenberg up in here," pretty much sums up everything that's come before it. Instead, there's an extended flashback, set to Phil Collins' "In the Air Tonight" and full of star wipes (during which a narrator echoes the phrase "Star wipe" to add more redundancy), about where the Aqua Teens came from, and, boy, the trademark anticlimactic ending cannot come soon enough.

The existence of this movie is confounding. Does "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" have that large of a cult following to merit a feature? Why wasn't this simply aired on TV? It's not as though Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters pushes the envelope in ways that it couldn't be on Adult Swim, save for some curse words, which are still confusingly bleeped occasionally in the background. If you've never heard of the Aqua Teens, it's best that you avoid this movie, because your cerebellum might fuse trying to figure out how a giant, talking spider wearing a diaper in Hell fits into any of this.

Copyright 2007 by Mark Dujsik. All rights reserved.

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