A clever, amusing but protracted conceit, "Dadetown" attempts to use a faux documentary style to relate a dramatic smalltown tale with light-hearted cynicism. In his first and last feature film before his untimely death at age 27, co-writer/director Russ Hexter reveals a sharp, original, even iconoclastic sensibility that, however, doesn't know when to quit. In trying to delineate the tragic effects of nonprogressive provincialism, his uneasy mix of forced satire and credible melodrama tends to blunt his thesis. Using a talking-head interview format, Hexter employs a large cast of unknowns to show the changes wrought in the fictional Dadetown, N.Y., when a new computer corporation forces a metal factory to lay off workers. A resulting strike and vengeful violence make for a volatile statement on how encroaching industrialism can cause inhuman competition and social disruption. The actors improvise well together to persuasively portray a town at war with itself. Starring Tom Nickenback, Ed Hubble and Dorrie Daniel. Directed by Russ Hexter. Written by Russ Hexter and John Housely. Produced by Jim Carden. A Castle Hill release. Drama. Unrated. Running time: 84 min.