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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 16.24%
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Pretty Crappy: 22.22%
Sucks: 17.95%

7 reviews, 75 user ratings

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Josie and the Pussycats
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by Greg Muskewitz

"The makers are the real villains!"
1 stars

If ever there was a demographic-aimed movie hormonally in heat towards its audience (hormonally in the sense of screaming vociferously for attention, not in the traditional horny sense), "Josie and the Pussycats" annoyingly crushes any rubberneckers or stand-byers from the past, relegating them to a completely unmemorable status. "Josie and the Pussycats" is memorable all right, but for all the wrong reasons. Because after all, it is not a movie, but rather an extended music-video, an extended commercial combined with a consumer attitude and a hypocritical message that says to do one thing, when it diaphanously dictates to do the other.

"Josie and the Vulvas"...err, "Vaginas"....um "Kootchies," wait, "Pussycats" (ahhh, that feels so much better to get out of my system!), which is a garage band consisting of a gleek of grunge chicks, is supposed to be a story of being true to yourself. The game plan here has the down-on-their luck trio --Josie (Rachel Leigh Cook), lead vocals; Valerie (Rosario Dawson), guitarist; and ditzy, downright stupid Melody (Tara Reid), drummer-- burst onto the scene from nowhere when record contractor Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming) and Megastore CEO Fiona (Parker Posey) ditch their old N'Sync-like success story, for a new, fresher, and less high-maintenance group.

The conflict comes when their band, simply "The Pussycats" is bifurcated into "Josie and the Pussycats," and pits the other two girls against Josie. The grand scheme is towards brainwashing teens for trends and such in the music without their knowledge --or "product placement: spreading the gospel." Not only is fashion and entertainment what's being dictated by the subliminal messaging in the music ("Heath Ledger is the new Matt Damon," or "So and so is the new so and so" as one of the Pussies put it) but Josie is also being manipulated into hating her friends and turning against their "friends first always" pact. It becomes her quest upon realizing her/their wrong-doing, to patch things up and prevent the world from Fionian domination.

The plot and concept is not without possibilities --I like the idea of having the majority of teens susceptible to this fashion and trend totalitarianism by what they listen to or watch, and having the refractory teens as the enemy; only with the second half of that, it didn't go very far. None of the good ideas are followed up on, only the most obvious ones are further illuminated. Although not until recently did I look at the comic strip from "Archie" that this was based on (I was only familiar with the occasional episode I saw on the Cartoon Network, in which they resided in outer-space), but they follow the path of having the agent/manager-type as the villain. But in those characters' villainy, only the biggest target, the conglomeration of teens, is targeted. Writing/directing team Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont seem to think that by thinking generically and uni-visually at the teen demographic, that it can automatically slump all of us together. By doing so, every move, every reaction, every context is artificial and pellucid. The characters are all but airbrushed variants on each other. Even when Josie comes to the realization of the subliminal messaging in her music as the cause of her behavior (a ridiculous epiphany at that), it isn't fun.

The whole message of the movie is to be happy and accept who you are and to be your own unique-being and think as your own self. But in the end, Kaplan and Elfont are still trying to shove their opinions and their ideas down your throat to mindlessly accept. After Josie's big speech at the end, do any of the millions of teens think for themselves? Not at all! They're still mindless, opinionless, trendless herds following what is deemed to be hip or in or cool, not because they like it, but because everyone else does. And meanwhile, "Josie and the Pussycats" is too busy with its feckless but avaricious product-plugging --not meant as a gag or parody-- to Target, Bounce, McDonald's, etc. Kaplan and Elfont prove that they will do anything to cater to the vox populi of the teen world as one single entity, but only in return for the tintinnabulation of box-office grosses and product tie-ins of their own. The duo is the real-life villain.

Despite all of what I have said, it could have been worse. It could have been a lot worse. Not that this is a compromise, but at the minimum, I was able at least to find a modicum of solace in the presences of both Cook and Dawson. But why they would want to do something like this, aside from the popularity and big paychecks, makes no sense to me. It doesn't make them look good at all. It may not affect them yet, but it's an open road down the line, and we already know how easy it is to replace actresses. Cumming managed a few laughs, and again doesn't conform to any norm, but why the extremely talented Posey would waste her talent in this monstrosity is a mystery to me. She wasn't funny and she ends up embarrassing herself enormously. Reid on the other hand, wearing some of the most unflattering pants, almost reaching below her ischium, has no comedic sensibilities whatsoever. And her idea of ditzy is no doubt an insult to the real thing. So it doesn't surprise me in the least to see that her current boyfriend Carson Daly or TRL can't act either, though his scenes were one of the few that could be considered funny. (He also cameos, less humorously, though in the exact same capacity this week in "Joe Dirt.")

One of the more talented cinematographers lensing today, Matthew Libatique (of "Requiem for a Dream" and "Pi") manages to add a strike to his list, but as his bio unsurprisingly reveals his past collaborations on several music videos (though mostly with talented performers like Moby or Eryka Badhu), it explains at least the desire for trendiness of the rock-video treatment that most of "Josie" is shot in. But it's supposed to be a movie, not a rock-video, so yet on another level, it is again a failure.

Final Verdict: D-.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4628&reviewer=172
originally posted: 04/13/01 07:10:58
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User Comments

12/16/07 SylviaP this was terribly good, and rosario dawson was soooo hot in it! 5 stars
7/10/07 Tiffany Losco I loved it. I am a big archie comics fan, and love josie and the pussycats. 4 stars
7/10/07 Tati oh my gawd! this movie is CRAP! dont even watch it, u'll be wastong ur time 1 stars
6/20/07 Amy best i've eber seen 5 stars
2/22/07 David Pollastrini All the women in this film are hot! 3 stars
5/21/06 micaja this movie is the best movie i have ever seen!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! it's funny,romantic,good music 5 stars
6/04/05 Ubu the Ripper Horrid horrid scheiss. Not even enjoyable if you are paid to watch it. 1 stars
2/01/05 Jeff Anderson THIS FILM IS PUTRID GARBAGE & SHOULD BE BURNED AT THE STAKE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
1/26/05 PR Serious Shite. Even RLC could not save it 1 stars
9/20/04 Jessica look past all the teen marketing and you see a fairly fresh funny movie 4 stars
7/26/04 mel valentine omg this is like the best movie of all time ok don't nobody dare trash it. that's wiggedy 5 stars
7/01/04 Sora Its GREAT!!! 5 stars
6/16/04 Sarah I like the OBVIOUS sarcasm of the adverisments.... such as the target one in the very begin 3 stars
5/23/04 Butterbean Rather see this than Scooby Doo. Music sucks, but a clever plot! 4 stars
5/19/04 Akisame15 EXCELLENT!!! 5 stars
4/29/04 sarah nobody should waste any money on that film. Totaly a waste of time. 1 stars
4/11/04 Gray waste of film 1 stars
3/10/04 Rachel Furey Best movie in the world! 5 stars
3/08/04 tats nice band... 5 stars
3/06/04 Ashleigh-jane McLauchlan Hassll Grove 5 stars
3/04/04 tinka great 4 stars
12/31/03 HELLOWEEN nah...pretty crappy if you ask me. Too boring 2 stars
12/06/03 lilcutie a great film 5 stars
9/01/03 Jenna* I luved the movie so much i bought it! 5 stars
8/26/03 I Would Clever satire that suffer's from a predictable plot. 3 stars
8/06/03 tp the satire's pretty obvious, but clearly over some people's heads 4 stars
6/23/03 John Aster Habig it's actually quite funny teen pop muzak and subliminal messages by nature are funny 4 stars
6/11/03 Rach Parker its a great film, its ment to be a mick-take not as a serious feel good teenage film! 5 stars
5/18/03 C-dog toomany ads 2 stars
4/14/03 reptilesni What the fuck was that? Is there a no stars option here? 1 stars
3/16/03 Jake Makes the Misadventures Of Jason Vorhees Look Like Shakesphere 1 stars
2/02/03 Lord David Completely awesome - makes a case for individuality over mindless mass marketing 5 stars
1/11/03 sdjfsdkjf when the simpsons did the whole subliminal msgs thing, it was funny. Josie and co aint. 1 stars
12/24/02 vanessa itz a wicked movie, get ova it 5 stars
11/09/02 Charlotte Loved it. Seth Green is sooo hot. 5 stars
10/09/02 Mark Tara Reid is sooo sexy I want her to marry me even though I'm only thirteen this film rules 5 stars
9/15/02 mia i loved the movie. it was fun to watch. 5 stars
9/02/02 Akasha i luv it - seth green is sexy 5 stars
6/27/02 Kyle Painfully unfunny, every single joke except 1 falls flat, which wasn't that funny. 1 stars
5/14/02 Kakararaniniginjia Sinitraviwasanjofraz Byv mukh DIN prejkh wanwuvh Tara Reid; Dudou vaugjimh prvecch ku Rachel Leigh Cooke tuvh tu 2 stars
4/29/02 hilary Tara Reid is hilarios (AWESOME) 5 stars
4/29/02 hilary Tara Reid is hilarious (AWESOME) 5 stars
3/29/02 Hennec The characters and plot are just as two-dimensional as the comics they came from. 2 stars
3/11/02 attheback not even the people who see this movie or the people who made it will evr understand it 5 stars
3/05/02 Veronica Foxx aka The Raven-Haired Temptress Movies like these are the work of the gov't to invoke mass suicide and solve overpopulation 1 stars
2/11/02 Yesenia Its was hot!! 5 stars
1/20/02 Nexus6 Fun but painfully self concious, Rachael's a babe 3 stars
1/19/02 Spyguy2 Couple of good rips at the lame state of MTV sanctioned music and the dupes that listen in 3 stars
1/06/02 Stephanie good music very different from other movies 5 stars
11/22/01 Will Diamond No good. 2 stars
10/22/01 Canuck Campy, but terribly funny... worth it for the laughs. 5 stars
10/13/01 Gia Carangi It was way the hell better than Zoolander! 4 stars
10/07/01 josie I think it was a good film 4 stars
10/05/01 Amy Like cotton candy, empty but fun 3 stars
9/18/01 Bri lame 2 stars
8/31/01 Butterbean Goofy and fun! 4 stars
8/29/01 Matthew Bartley Surreal...but funny 4 stars
8/16/01 hilary worth a look 4 stars
7/03/01 luana this movie sucked 1 stars
6/30/01 aaron the movie was crap but the chicks were hot there the only reason id go see it again 3 stars
6/22/01 King of the Bros I'd do a review, but the subliminal messages told me not too. 5 stars
6/20/01 Ryan Phillippe gets hit by a car and it rules! Matt Mulcahey is insane, screw respectability, this movie rules. 5 stars
6/14/01 Breno bloody funny 5 stars
5/15/01 hania its puuuurrrfffeeeeccttt 5 stars
5/07/01 ric the inarticulate,weak and pathetic melody was ditzy&insanely sexy but not dumb..loved the songs,esp.th'bass lines 5 stars
4/25/01 Harlarla Nelly hey...it was entertaining...isnt that what is was suppose to be?? 5 stars
4/23/01 *~Danielle*Ophelia~* (formerly KyLe*BrOfLoVsKi) This is the only beginning of the defaming of classic cartoons. The worst is yet to come.. 2 stars
4/23/01 siro This movie would be a total piece of shit if it wasn't for the hot chicks distracting you 2 stars
4/17/01 Darren Shea Much better than expected: Nice eye candy, decent music, and Alan Cummings is fun 4 stars
4/16/01 himanshu sexy girl's 1 stars
4/15/01 your pussycat KICKASS MOVIE~ the girls were awesome!!!!!1 5 stars
4/14/01 Mike Tara Reid always looks like a cheap crack hoe with that hacking voice 1 stars
4/14/01 Senior Choad Horrible. Plays to 13 year olds or those with IQs under 70 1 stars
4/11/01 tjwills Better than I could have hoped for. Some great satiric bits. 4 stars
4/08/01 Punk Rock Prom King Kickass amazing movie! Such great music, esp. "3 Small Words". Wish I was in a band...=^) 5 stars
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  11-Apr-2001 (PG-13)



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