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Spike & Mike's Sick & Twisted Festival of Animation

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It is what it is, only moreso: From the graphic assassination of a children's TV icon to a charming illustrated ditty titled "My First Boner," this year's compendium for the 18-and-over crowd lives up to its title by regularly living down to it. In other words, "Peepshow," in which marshmallow bunnies procreate prolifically, is cutely perverse, but "Sickcom" is witless parody and stuff like "Mousochist" and "Hut Sluts" isn't much better. Still, everything is pretty damn short, and there are several gems: Particular favorites include the 3-D one-liner "Mr. Grenade"; the semi-epic superhero spoof "Ninjews"; and "Here Comes Dr. Tran," a lengthy pulse of sustained insanity in which, first with befuddlement and then with mounting rage, a child of indeterminate ethnicity repudiates inexplicable attempts to brand him as a James Bond-like icon. Meanwhile, the computer-animated "Cane Toad" and traditionally drawn "How to Cope With Death" prove being sick 'n' twisted doesn't necessarily equate with being visually shoddy -- a lesson that's unfortunately lost on even some of this anthology's funnier selections. 2.5 cameras

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