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Josie and the Pussycats (PG-13)
Official Site
Directors: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Producer: Tony DeRosa-Grund, Tracey Edmonds, Chuck Grimes, Marc E. Platt
Written by: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
Cast: Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, Tara Reid, Alan Cumming, Seth Green, Parker Posey, Paulo Costanzo, Missi Pyle, Gabriel Mann, Serena Altschul, Jann Carl, Carson Daly

Rating: out of 5

Well gosh! Who’d have expected serious entertainment value for your buck from yet another high-concept, stolen-from-’70s-TV movie? And yet I thoroughly enjoyed JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS, and not just in that, “This doesn’t suck nearly as much as I’d feared” way.

Writer-directors Elfont and Kaplan take comic aim at a target richly deserving their ridicule—youth culture with its here-today, gone-tomorrow, on-to-the-next-big-thing trends—and (gently) land a bullseye. JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS is such a stew of consumerism and product placement that you can just imagine the PR folks for the sponsoring corporations going nudge, nudge, wink, wink at the anti-consumerist, friendship-power theme of the movie (done better here than in THE ADVENTURES OF ROCKY AND BULLWINKLE, but not nearly as well as in Connie Willis’s wildly funny comic novel of the origins of trends, Bellwether.)

When the plane carrying boy-band DuJour disappears, manager Frame (Cumming) goes all out in his search for the Next Big Thing, and happens upon Josie McCoy (Cook), Valerie Brown (Dawson), and Melody Valentine (Reid), a struggling Riverdale band calling themselves the Pussycats. Just like that, the Pussycats become a chart-topping band, their rise masterminded by Frame and his boss Fiona (Posey, playing a sort of rock ’n’ roll Cruella deVil who starts trends in the prized 15-24 demographic).

If you were a fan of the cartoon, you should enjoy the actors’ portrayals of the Pussycats, plus Alan M. (Mann), Alexander (Costanzo), and Alexandra (Pyle). Viewers new to the universe of “long tails and ears for hats” should try thinking of Val as Buttercup, Melody as Bubbles, and Josie as Blossom. Plus there are amusing cameos, riffs on boy bands, real-life romances, and ROMY AND MICHELLE’S HIGH SCHOOL REUNION, not to mention a credible explanation of the origin of VH-1’s “Behind the Music.”

JOSIE AND THE PUSSYCATS serves up the fun by skewering and wallowing in pop culture at the same time.

—Roxanne Bogucka, an Action Grrl!

hybridCinema Ratings Guide:

Take a pal and pay full price for both tickets.

It’s worth a full-price ticket.

It’s worth a matinee ticket.

Wait for video rental.

Check out the video from the library, if you must.

While we would never encourage anyone to destroy a video...

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