Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, released a couple weeks ago, is an infectious, 
erratic, and deliriously self-referential mix of pop-music pokes, sa-
tirical product plugs, and good, old-fashioned, girl-powered bubble-
rock.  (Plus ample dumb-blonde jokes for Tara Reid's ditzy drummer Mel-
ody...)  Updated from the Archie Comics appearing (and short-lived Sat-
urday-morning cartoon starring) characters, Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario 
Dawson, and the aforementioned Ms. Reid star as a suburban-living ga-
rage band turned prepackaged overnight sensation.  The latter courtesy 
of Alan Cumming's evil record producer, who whisks (whiskers?) the trio 
to New York as emergency replacements for "Mega Records" last gazil-
lion-copy selling act.  ("Dujour," get it?, an N Sync-style boy band 
featured at the film's beginning and good for a few SPINAL TAP-style 
tour-jet scenes.)  Soon enough, Cumming's character's boss, played by 
Parker Posey, is revealed as really a government agent and head of a 
secret agency adding subliminal messages to popular (and presumably un-
popular) rock music; instructions instructing America's record-buying 
youth to buy brand-name products and, of course, providing the neces-
sary means for the title characters to save the world.  (Uncle Sam's 
objective is the economy, explains Eugene Levy, Actor, in a hilarious, 
Fifties-style educational film shown to visitors of the top-secret, un-
derground facility.)

The plot paces the pixies through their rapid rise to fame-- chart-
ing on "Billboard," reacting to screaming fans, reacting to scream-
ing, *ass-tattooed* fans, and, for the formerly tomboyish singer, 
finally looking feminine to a boy from back home.  (Wearing a low-
cut blouse after a make-over makes *all* the difference in the 
world...)  And, as expected, the P'cat's enthusiastic participation 
in every manner of high-energy montage and music-video sequence.  
Yawn, at least on a literal level.  What makes this matinee money 
well-spent is the generous amount of humor.  The gags fly fast and 
furious in this one, some subtle (McDonald's logos inside a hotel-
room shower, the heroes' mouths taped with Mega Records electrical 
tape, etc.) and some not-so-subtle (blonde jokes, Bill Cosby imper-
sonations, a revisionist history of the Captain and Tenille, etc.).  
More music *industry* jokes, though, than cracks on individual art-
ists.  (Love the Metallica reference at film's end, I must say...)  
And ample fun-poking at the film *itself*, like a supporting charac-
ter explaining her presence "because I was in the comic book."  Or 
an AUSTIN POWERS-style moment of Posey's character caught cackling 
under her breath.  Both she and Cumming vamp it up splendidly, al-
ways in the joke.  The three leads, however, are considerably less 
memorable, if still pretty 'n' perky enough to get the job done.  
One question:  why do they look so different in age?  In some scenes 
they seem 10 to 15 years apart!?  Go figure.  With Gabriel Mann, 
Paulo Costanzo, and Missi Pyle.  Written and directed by Deborah 
Kaplan and Harry Elfont.  (Rated "PG-13"/98 min.) 

Grade: B- 

Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Home   |   Recommended   |   Reviews   |   Views   |   Letters   |   Links   |   FAQ   |   Search!

Please report problems to
Copyright 2001 by Michael J. Legeros -Movie Hell™ is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros