Thursday, October 02, 2003


A Video Review of "Josie and the Pussycats"

Copyright 2003 Glenn Walker

This was the best movie of 2001, forget the first installments of Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings, this was it. I enjoyed this a lot more than most of the crap out there.

Based on the Archie Comic created by Dan DeCarlo and by association the more widely known and popular Saturday morning cartoon series it follows the adventures of an aspiring all girl rock band and their friends. The cartoon was very Scooby-Doo, derivative in that the kids were always stumbling across mysteries and dastardly villains and putting things right by meddling.

The movie kicks ass because not only does it stick close to its source material while updating itself to the 21st century it never once -never once- takes itself seriously. This is the work of co-writer/co-director team of Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont. They were also responsible for other underrated flicks like A Very Brady Sequel and The Flintstones in Viva Rock Vegas. They even take a shot at the critics regarding their other work Can’t Hardly Wait in this one. Their Josie and the Pussycats is just a fantastic non-stop roller coaster ride.

The satire is thick as the plot involves music being used to subliminally brainwash the youth of America to use certain products. To drive home this point the whole movie is punch drunk with on-screen advertising and product placement (particularly hilarious is Melanie taking a shower in her McDonald's decorated bathroom). It's everywhere, everywhere, you can't get away from it and therein lies the joke.

Kaplan and Elfont prey on this in their own unique wink-wink way. The music industry, especially the pop music industry, is all about advertising. It's true and you know it. I know it too. If I see N'Sync pushing baby back ribs from Chili's one more time I'll puke. Britney for Pepsi at least makes sense, but baby back ribs??!?

The primary roles are taken by Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid as Josie, Valerie and Melanie. As in the comics and some of the roles are reversed, here Josie is the smart one and Valerie is the sexy one but Melanie is still the ditsy one. All are played to a tee. Melanie of course gets all the good lines.

Alan Cumming is, as always, amazing as Wyatt the uber-manager who engineers the Pussycats' miracle rise to the top. Everyone else plays their parts to perfection including the wonderful Parker Posey who finally stars in a film that didn't go straight to video. Also the short conspiracy promotional film starring Eugene Levy which stinks of a 1950s science filmstrip is hilarious.

My favorite character in the film is Carson Daly who plays Carson Daly as an automaton - in other words, himself. Aries Spears of "Mad TV" is also good as the ‘other’ Carson Daly. The fight sequence where the two Carson Dalys try to off Valerie and Melanie is particularly amusing because of the dialogue between Daly and Reid who were dating at the time.

The songs, music and videos are incredibly played like MTV in an MTV movie designed to mock MTV. Marvelous. Vocals on the Josie songs are by Kay Hanley of Letters to Cleo, surprisingly backed up by Cook and Dawson.

My favorite dialogue in the flick (and probably of all time) comes when super-manager Wyatt asks Alexandra why she is with the band. Missi Pyle, done up in perfect skunk hairdo, deadpans her answer: "Because I was in the comic book." I just love it.

The movie is wall-to-wall fun. Don't miss it and remember, blue is the new red. Rent this video, buy this video, enjoy this video.

The above revised from previous versions appearing elsewhere on the net.

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