Alternately hysterical and dull, "Feed" plays like a joke that is funnier in the concept than in the telling. Though it certainly has its moments.

The idea here was to compile outtakes — the footage surrounding interviews and news stories — from official news sources that followed the presidential candidates around prior to the primary elections.

Consequently we see a running gag of President Bush sitting in a chair waiting to be asked questions for what seems like an eternity — in other words, the length of this film. (He gets off the film's best line quite early, saying, "This is the real thing — this isn't Dana Carvey.") Along with satellite feeds, footage shot during the New Hampshire primary and speeches on the campaign trail.

The film concentrates on those moments when each candidate is at his worst — Jerry Brown worrying endlessly about how his tie looks, Bill Clinton clearing his throat, Brown's French campaign manager talking in circles about an upcoming dinner, Paul Tsongas taking shots at the press and a lengthy sequence focusing on Gennifer Flowers, the woman who claimed to have had an affair with Clinton.

The Flowers sequence in particular shows the film's bent, going out of its way to include outrageous material that has no real point — and is hopelessly redundant.

Ironically, Tsongas comes off best in a moment when he takes on ABC news correspondent/anchor Sam Donaldson in an off-the-cuff display of wit. But, as if to punish him for doing well, the film can't resist including a moment when a Clinton campaign worker says her candidate will beat Tsongas because he wears a pocket protector.

Ultimately, the sophisticated viewer recognizes that anyone who goes on television comes off like a dweeb during those uncomfortable moments between takes. Thus, the targets here are fish in a barrel.

Still, there are some genuine laughs. It's just too bad the film isn't as funny as it is smug.

"Feed" is not rated but would probably get a PG for a couple of profanities.