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Movie Review

Josie and the Pussycats

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for language and sensuality

Reviewed by: Charity Bishop

Better than Average
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Music Comedy
1 hr. 38 min.
Year of Release:
USA Release:
April 11, 2001
Relevant Issues
Tara Reid, Rachael Leigh Cook, and Rosario Dawson in “Josie and the Pussycats”
Featuring: Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, Rosario Dawson, Paulo Costanzo, Alan Cumming
Director: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Producer: Marc Platt, Chuck Grimes, Tony DeRosa-Grund, Tracey Edmonds
Distributor: Universal Pictures

Rachel Leigh Cook has come a long way since her tryst as Becky Thatcher with Jonathan Taylor Thomas in “Tom and Huck”. Her more recent films have taken on a decidedly more intriguing and adult twist, with “Texas Rangers”, “AntiTrust”, and most recently… “Josie and the Pussycats”. The song-writing, midriff-revealing, hip-swinging threesome are the most popular girls on the planet. But when they find out their popularity is part of an international plot to mind sweep American girls, these pussycats learn to hiss.

Josie, Melody, and Valerie are three girls with big dreams from a small town. The rocking and rolling trio don’t make enough to buy pizza, but fate is about to lend a hand. When the hip boy pop band Du Jour’s plane vanishes from the face of the Earth, their managing director must find a new group before daylight. And so he stumbles onto the Pussycats. They have the right look, they’re young, they’re perky… and they don’t ask questions.

No one save Josie seems to acknowledge how strange it is that they’re given a million-dollar deal without even an audition. But soon the girls are caught up in the essence of stardom and are swept into another world… where they rule as queen kitties. But all is not sugar and cream in the world of mega stars; little do the trio know that they’re being used as a part of a government conspiracy to influence the youth of America. But when people start to ask questions, they start to disappear… and if the Pussycats aren’t careful, the trip could land them a one way ticket to dyer road.

The film is actually a lot of fun. It takes pride in mocking fashion, peers, teens, and the whole music limbo. The girls learn that sometimes fame isn’t what you want or need, and that family and friendship are really all that matters. The villains are played comically but with a certain flair that almost make them likable, and the girls are perfect, from the spirited Josie with a crush on the boy next door to suspicious Valerie and air-headed Melody. (Remember the Archie comics?) And the music rocks… if you love N’Sync or the Backstreet Boys, you’ll love the soundtrack! Full of original mixes and catchy lyrics, there’s very little to be concerned about. (The only song I would caution about is Du Jour’s “Backdoor Lover,” which is either a jab at the Backstreet Boys or an indecent come-on.)

The only real problem with this film is the immodesty of the girls. They dress in the Britney Spears style… which leaves very little to the imagination. I wound up wishing they’d put on more clothes, since otherwise the movie is very reasonable in content. There are some scattered light profanities, and they use a double innuendo on “Pussycats” once or twice. A boy comes out wearing only a guitar over his crotch, and Du Jour does a few suggestive dance moves. There’s a lot of plunging necklines, short skirts, skimpy tops, bare backs and frame-hugging outfits.

I enjoyed it for what it was… a teen comedy minus the slapstick. Compared to the recent onslaught of “funny” teen-age films, which borderline on offensive, Josie is fairly safe surfing… at least for girls. Which is technically all the film is aimed for… adolescent girls. But there are a dozen laughs, a few memorable moments, and top-notch acting, even if the film does take on an MTV feel. And what’s more, it teaches good lessons… mainly not to let yourself be pressured by the people around you. what’s most important is just being yourself, not conforming to a list of prejudiced rules.

Ironic, isn’t it? Especially when the clothes they wear, the music they sing, and the attitudes they sport are all meant to influence teen girls…

Viewer Comments
“Josie and the Pussycats” was one of the funniest movies I have ever seen. The only thing I can think of that was offensive was some cuss words and possibly the way they dress. The music was really good and the humor was pretty clean. The plot (the whole plot wasn’t outlined on this Web site—I don’t know if they do on purpose) but it was a great and wasn’t very deep (which I think is a good thing)
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 5]
—Chloe, age 16
I absolutely loved this movie! I was reading one of the reviews that said that the title was objectionable. The word Pussycat has nothing to do with what you think it is. There is a song that goes, “Pussycat, pussycat, where are you?” The movie does have some profanity mostly the “s” word. There is absolutely no sex in this movie. They do, however show a half naked guy that holds a guitar over his private parts. Other than that, I’d recommend this movie to any teenager. It has a lot of laughs.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Robyn Schaller, age 15
Well, I didn’t think that this movie was going to be too good, but I was pleasantly suprised. It was sooooooo funny. I don’t know how people can be bored by this movie. I saw it twice in theaters. It sort of made fun of blondes but other than that it was very worthwhile.
My Ratings: [Good / 4]
—Zumb Oggo, age 14
I saw this movie with my mom and she seemed to enjoy it more than I did. Josie and the Pussycats was a good movie but slightly corny. The major point of it was that the music company was hiding subliminal messages in the music. It was kind of dumb. Although a little corny it was still entertaining and funny. I would recommend this to anyone who loves positive rock music and three talented actresses.
—Tara, age 16
Overall, cute. It got kind of stupid at times, but it wasn’t a complete waste of time. I liked the music, and it really didn’t have as much objectionable material as I thought it would. It was actually more of a spoof on all young bands like backstreet boys than it was on the old show “Josie and the pussycats.”
My Ratings: [Average / 3]
—Melissa, age 15
I saw the movie this weekend with some of my friends. I personally really enjoyed it. Probably because I’m a teenager and it appealed to my age group. There was some cussing but only the “s” word, not like you don’t hear it everyday at school, or in any other movie. Some people may just think its totally wrong to see this movie because it has an offensive word in the title but I truly think that they didn’t do it on purpose to get a laugh out of it, its there bands name for goodness sakes!! I really liked this movie-a lot and I would see it again with more of my friends. Its also a movie you teens can watch with your parents and you wouldn’t feel stupid!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Kelly Cox, age 14
Josie and the Pussycats was an okay movie. It didn’t have much of a script, but the moral was good-that you shouldn’t follow the crowd, but to follow your heart and that true friendship is more important than worldly possessions. The girls wore some skimpy outfits, but considering most of the movies I’ve seen lately, it had less sexuality and profanity. I don’t think I’d spend the money to see it in a theatre again, but it has potential to be an okay rental.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 2]
—Jessica, age 15
We found this movie to be a better than average film for the targeted age group. Although some foul language was used, it was very low on sexual content, besides pussy, and had a pretty good message if you got past the media message.
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 4½]
—Heather Amber, age 14
This movie was great. There was some swears in it, but it didn’t use God’s name in vain. Also, it was great to finally have a movie for teens that has no sex or comments about sex. I saw this movie with my friends and we all loved it! Also, I thought the plot was really different.
—Elizabeth, age 14
This movie was alright. There were a couple mild swear words and an inappropriate pun, but if you can over look that the movie was okay. There isn’t really any inspiring theme, it’s about 3 girls who want to be rock stars. it’s fun to watch and it makes you want to pick up a guitar and make some music. I’d recommend it to a friend, and I’d go back to see it again!
My Ratings: [Better than Average / 3½]
—Bernadette, age 15
Movie Critics
…several uses of the word, “p*ssy,” in double meanings…
…Three scatological terms, nine anatomical references, several mild profanities, three religious exclamations, and some insults…
…lacks depth and contains some foul language and sensuality… a tacky feel… blatant advertisements in nearly every scene…
—Dr. Ted Baehr, Movieguide
…The continual bombardment of commercial messages only serves to feed an insatiable compulsion to buy… This mindset often leads to debt, disappointment and despair…
—Michael Elliott, Movie Parables