JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS is SPICEWORLD but with -- are you ready for this? --
an actual plot. It's about nothing less than a "conspiracy to brainwash the
kids of America with pop music," specifically with subliminal messages.
A cute-as-a-button Rachael Leigh Cook (ANTITRUST) plays lead singer Josie
McCoy of the Pussycats. Rosario Dawson (HE GOT GAME) and Tara Reid
(AMERICAN PIE) play Scary Spice and Baby Spice, oops, I mean Valerie Brown
and Melody Valentine, the group's guitarist and drummer. Fiona (Parker
Posey), the maniacal manager of MegaRecords, accurately calls the latter
two, "Mopey and Dopey." The group is based on a Hanna-Barbera cartoon
series from the early 1970s, which was itself based on a 1963 Archie comic
As the story begins, a boy band, DuJour, is in a descent so rapid that
they'll soon vanish, so their manager, Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming, SPY KIDS)
has to locate a new band pronto, or Fiona will have his head on a platter.
Once he literally runs into the Pussycats, he decides to make them overnight
stars without even bothering to hear them sing. Rocketing to number one in
their first week, their fame is like a sudden and unexpected tornado.
The movie, written and directed in a collaborative effort by Harry Elfont
and Deborah Kaplan, who last gave us the miserable comedy CAN'T HARDLY WAIT,
is full of fun hi-jinks and lots and lots of high energy music. The songs
are actually sung by Kay Handley of Letters to Cleo, but the three lead
actresses sing back-up.
The funniest parts of the story are the product placement parodies.
Everything in the girls' rooms from the wallpaper to the bedspreads is
filled with corporate logos. "We will turn the world into one gigantic TV
commercial," Fiona brags. Usually spectacular, Posey delivers a chillingly
off-kilter performance as the weird, wacky woman CEO of MegaRecords. With
their subliminal messages, MegaRecords is able to turn the opinions of
millions of young consumers on a dime, causing them to shell out cash like a
broken slot machine. Thinking thoughts like, "orange is the new pink" and
"feathers are the new rhinestones," the teens have to go out and buy the
latest fashion fad to replace perfectly good items that they already have.
Eventually, of course, Josie rebels against being a "trend pimp" for Fiona,
and begins to sing songs free of secret messages. Even if the movie isn't
exactly unforgettable, the same can't be said for the main song, "3 Small
Words," which sticks in your brain like Super Glue. You don't think that
there really are some hidden messages in it, do you? Personally, I don't.
At any rate, I'm too busy right now to think about it. I've got to buy some
new Nikes so I can walk to McDonalds and get a Coca-Cola and a Big Mac.
After that there are 17 items of designer clothing at the mall that I just
remembered that I absolutely have to buy before sunset.
JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS runs 1:35. It is rated PG-13 for language and
sensuality and would be acceptable for kids around 7 and up.
My son Jeffrey, age 12, gave it ***. He said that it was funny and that he
liked Josie and loved the music. He remarked how much the film was like
Copyright © 2001 Steve Rhodes