RATING |

In January, a promotional stunt for

Aqua Teen Hunger Force,

the 15-minute-long Dadaist highlight of the Cartoon Network's Adult Swim! lineup, scared the bejesus out of Bostonians when electronic signs with alien characters Ignignokt and Err were mistaken for bombs.

In Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters, which daringly and surprisingly successfully attempts to hold viewers' interest in the (barely) animated triumvirate of Frylock, Master Shake and Meatwad for six times the length of a normal episode, it's Philadelphians who are terrorized.

Or at least, when an Insanoflex exercise machine gets implanted with a motherboard procured from Dr. Weird's South Jersey Shore headquarters (which, wouldn't you know, is being converted into lofts) and turns into a diabolical monster bent on escaping from the aforementioned trio of sentient fast-food products and destroying "downtown," the one in question is indicated by a representation of the Philadelphia skyline.

Our hearts should be swelling with pride. The Aqua Teen theme song ("Meatwad got the money, see, Meatwad get the honeys, G!") is the creation of West Philadelphia original gangsta rapper Schooly D. (who reprises his creation in a modified rocked-out version for the film).

And it is our fair city that gets to be destroyed when the irate exercise equipment (the object of affection of intergalactic nincompoop Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past) grows to ginormous proportions, takes the Aqua Teen's hairy-backed neighbor Carl hostage, and commences smashing stuff willy-nilly. How cool is that?

In other words, ATHFCMFFT is not for everybody.

But then, it doesn't try to be.

Directors (and writers and voicers) Matt Maiellero and Dave Willis' movie, which in its own way, is an origin story about finding out who you truly are (if you seem to be a container of French fries who thinks he might be a she). It is intended for the target audience of arrested-development stoners who stay up late being thrilled rather than confused by the show's non-sequiturial humor.

When Ignignokt urges fellow Mooninite Err to steal something more than an ashtray from Dr. Weird's Jersey lair, he says, "To achieve your ambition, you need to aim higher."

Err replies, with a giggle: "I'm already pretty high."

It's a safe bet that most of the Aqua Teen audience will be similarly baked when they get to see their heroes pull videotapes out of each other's heads and make pop cultural references like "it's like David Cronenberg all up in here!" (Rush drummer Neal Peart also appears, and there's plenty of awful Phil Collins music, too.) All this will no doubt make the entire enterprise seem much more hilarious for these viewers than it does for those who haven't inhaled.

Aqua Teen Hunger Force Colon Movie Film for Theaters **1/2 (out of four stars)

Produced by Jay Edwards, Matt Maiellero and Dave Willis, written and directed by Maiellero and Willis. Distributed by First Look.

Running time: 1 hour, 27 mins.

Frylock. . . Cara Means

Master Shake. . . Dana Snyder

Meatwad. . . Dave Willis

C. Martin Croker. . . Dr. Weird

Parent's guide: R (crude sexual humor, profanity, violence.)

Playing at: area theaters

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Contact music critic Dan DeLuca at 215-854-5628 or ddeluca@phillynews.com. Read his blog, In the Mix, at http://go.philly.com/inthemix.