Reviewed by: Charity Bishop
|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|
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…