Josie and the Pussycats

Director: Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont
Year Released: 2001
Rating: 2.0

Post-modern look at the Archie comic book, with Rachael Leigh Cook playing Josie, and Rosario Dawson and Tara Reid taking along as her band mates. Kaplan and Elfont's target seems to be, well, Target, Steve Madden and Sega, and other major conglomerates that depend so highly on the teen dollar (in a funny film-within-film, Eugene Levy explains how teens are brainwashed by capitalist America into coughing up their money for whatever is "cool" in the quest to "conform"). Josie and her crew are the "nonconformists," if you will, striving to maintain artistic dignity amidst Caulfieldesque "phonies" (Alan Cumming playing himself, Parker Posey playing Cruella DeVille); meanwhile, they too are brainwashed by "subliminal" messages in society. First hour is fun and tolerable, but once the "drama" sets in, and Josie gets brainwashed (dissing her mates in one very awkward, bad, scene), it becomes embarrassingly awful and almost intolerable. Boy band Dujour (who sing the hilarious "Backdoor Lover") and Paolo Costanzo's performance (he steals every scene he's in as the Pussycats' tour manager - he's reading, in one scene, David Geffen's memoirs) are the things worth seeing here; once it breaks away from the satire and has everyone arguing and moping and having encounters with MTV crew members, run and run quickly.