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MOVIE REVIEW

OK, we get the 'Aqua Teen' joke; it's still not funny

So the city of Boston was caught with its collective pants down by the Cartoon Network 's guerrilla promotion of "Aqua Teen Hunger Force " last January? So we panicked over Lite Brites attached to bridges and behaved like a bunch of old maids who wouldn't know pop culture if it hit them square in the snood?

So maybe we had a point. "Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters ," the big-screen version of the popular "Adult Swim " cartoon, is, essentially, an act of terrorism against entertainment. It's inconsequential, potty - mouthed, extremely silly, and -- the worst sin of all -- dead boring.

If you're already a fan of the crudely animated TV adventures of a meatball, a milkshake, and a bag of french fries, you'll want to reverse the above judgment. Of course, if you're already a fan, you're probably really, really stoned, and you'll find meaning in the dimples on a golf ball. Making sense isn't the point of "Aqua Teen," or, rather, making not-sense is the point. I get it. I just don't have much use for it, not when it's this pleased with itself.

When the show started in December 2000 , the goateed, reasonable Frylock (the voice of Carey Means ), vain jerk Master Shake (Dana Snyder ), and dimly sweet-natured Meatwad (show co-creator Dave Willis ) were briefly superheroes. That charade was dropped in favor of random slacker vaudeville: The three heroes argue a lot, lock horns with the sleazy guy next door, and are visited by, among many others, pixellated aliens who look like refugees from "Space Invaders."

"Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters" -- like everything else here, the title doesn't quite scan and that's what's funny, dude -- briefly touches on the characters' origins before bringing on Abraham Lincoln as a testy inventor, gay extraterrestrials from Pluto, and a diabolic exercise machine from the future.

Sounds pretty bent, maybe even funny? It is, in fits and starts. It's also padded beyond all reason, even at 86 minutes. "Aqua Teen Hunger Force" changes gears so often, and with such little effect, that you just drift off and start thinking about your laundry.

Fans will be happy to see recurring characters like Dr. Weird and MC Pee Pants , a giant rapping spider in a diaper. Non-fans will consider that a warning. It's a binary experience: You're either in on this thing or you're not. If not, with the proper chemical enhancement you too may find daring post-modern comedy in "Aqua Teen Hunger Force." Or in a cat toy.

Ty Burr can be reached at tburr@globe.com.

'Related'

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters

Written and directed by: Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis

Featuring: the voices of Dana Snyder , Dave Willis , Carey Means , Neal Peart

At: Boston Common, Fenway, Kendall Square, Embassy Cinema

Running time: 86 minutes

Rated: R (crude and sexual humor, violent images and language)

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