Sometimes, you just have to watch a movie that makes you happy. You know those days, when you are just feeling down in the dumps about something (full disclosure, I actually started this review a couple of weeks back, when I was feeling pretty crappy – everything has been coming up Milhouse over the past couple of weeks) and you have to watch something that just makes you happy, so you can switch off the bad and just forget about things for a couple of hours. Today’s film is one of those movies, and, based on the previous films that I have reviewed may come as a bit of a shock –unless you actually know me, and know how much I love this film. Today’s film is Josie And The Pussycats.
Based on the Archie Comics characters, the film shows the effects of fame on a small town rock group that gets plucked from obscurity and thrust into the limelight of Megastardom after the last big group of the day “dies”. But they soon find out that the fame they wanted comes with a lot of negatives. Things go from worse to...umm, worser, when they discover that they are being used as a subliminal message delivery system, targeting the same demographic that they are being marketed to. It’s really not a deep story, on the surface; but once you realise what the makers are attempting (and succeeding) to do, then the film takes on a whole other face and really runs with it.
First things first, I need to remind you all about my stance on really good satire films. To be really excellent, a satire should be almost indistinguishable to what it is satirizing – just over the top enough to make you think that things are not as they should be. And Josie and The Pussycats is definitely one of those types of films – satirizing pop music, advertising, MTV culture and fame by essentially being a story about that, but with the more talked about aspects of each ramped up to ridiculous levels. Take, for example, the advertising/product placement aspect of the film – while most films may just have a soda machine here, or a lingering shot of the latest car there; Josie ramps it to ridiculous levels by having company logos on damn near everything and recognisable products used everywhere they could be, and then some (something like 80 different companies are shown this way, with zero actual money being provided by them for the placements).
By coming across as basically being what they are satirising, they are able to make some pretty scathing shots at the kinds of demographics that MTV usually directs towards. Take, for instance, Du Jour, the band that goes so that Josie and The Pussycats can have fame thrust upon them – not only are they a dead on parody of boybands, but their fans are portrayed as the most vapid, idiotic and some cases sexually confused brainwashed idiots ever. In addition to modern pop culture and the way it is absorbed, the makers were not even too scared to poke a little bit of fun at the original source material, and the film is even funnier for that; as some of the funniest lines in the film actually come via potshots towards their own history (YMMV, depending on your knowledge of the comic/cartoon versions of The Pussycats).
Let’s talk casting, shall we? The Pussycats themselves are, I feel, perfectly cast – embodying the originals girls, while bringing their own brand of happiness to the roles (hell, even Tara Reid was perfectly cast as airheaded Melody); and, as the foils – the always awesome Alan Cummings and Parker Posey, who are both having the time of their life hamming it up to the most extreme of ham. Everyone is just playing this one to the hilt, and it comes across as a wicked bad party.
All in all....fuck it, no hyperbole, I love the holy hell out of this film, and have since the first time I saw it.