Josie and The Pussycats is well-intentioned but its message is troubled and charatcers familiar.
Dec 16, 2010
Not as awful as I thought it would be before I saw it or even in the ten first minutes. Josie and the Pussycats is a live-action adaptation of the Archie comics cartoon of the same name, that also originated a short-lived Hannah Barbera TV series.
I've never read the comics at all, but I have watched the caartoon. It was ait wasn't as bad as I thought it would be but, it may be because I never read the comics, why doesn't this movie has anything to do with the cartoon? Is the cartoon that di good, but not a great cartoon, it was mildly amusing. And although fferent from the comics? The cartoon usually centered in the group accidentally stumbling in a villain who is creating his master plan to take over the world (OF COURSE!). Then the group would be captured by the supervillain, then they would escape, go to a chase scene and then capture him accidentally. There is something of that here, but mostly, if you changed the name and appearences of the characters, you wouldn't even think of Josie and the Pussycats. But, I don't know, it may be because I never read the comics.
The plot basically is, Josie, Melody and Valerie are three best friends who want to be rock stars. Then they stumble in a guy (yeah, there is something of the cartoon here) who is a producer from a big record company, Megarecords. And he makes a contract with them. However, Josie and her friends don't know is that he, Wyatt, is part of a giant worldwide conspiracy theory to brainwash teenagers with subliminal messages to buy stuff.
The three main characters are more or less like the cartoon. Josie being the biggest exception. In the cartoon she has absolutely no personality at all, in the movie, she has a personality, the same personality of every other teen movie protagonist, seriously, you'll see this movie and say to yourself "WOW, I've seen this character, like, a bajillion times". Melody is somewhat like the cartoon too. She is as annoyingly mindless but also, exactly like every other teen movie in existance, this character is like, in every Disney Channel sitcom or original movie. However I think this movie came before most of the teen movies with this character, and it is based on somethin that is like 40 years old, so I can't really blame it. Then there is Valerie who is more or less like the cartoon, she is the smartest and most down-to-earth of the three just like in the series, but her smartnes(is that a real word?) and maturity seems to have been toned down. And yes, that makes her look like many other character in teen movies. However I think that this movie came before all these teen movies with the same characters, so I'm not sure if I should blame it that much. There is also the other characters from the cartoon, Alan, Alexander and Alexandra, but they are reduced to just cameos. Seriously, they are footnotes, a waste of screentime, the film could perfectly go on without them.
So, overall, the main characters have little personality, but what they have already makes them look familiar. And, if you take out the whole subliminal conspiracy plot, the rest is just like every other teen movie out there, the same romance sub-plot who is not even developed and lacks total chemestry, the formula, the premise of ordinary teen girls suddenly getting big. But again the movie was released in 2001 so it may have started all this, but it was a bomb at the box-office and it is not very well-known or popular, so chances are it is a rip-off rather than a formula-creator.
However I did enjoyed the performances, I don't think none of the actors did a bad job, even if the screenplay or the characters really gave them anything to do, they did the best they could so I think they did a good enough job to make me forget I was watching some very one-dimmensional characters in there. I mainly enjoyed Cunning's performance of the semi-homossexual producer Wyatt. And I wouldn't be lying if I said that I wasn't uninterested in where the plot was going. ( Did I twist your mind? Did I? Did I? What? No? No? :( ).
The humor, however, is pretty stupid. There is one joke, one of the very first ones, in which, Melody is holding near a driveway a poster saying: "Honk if you love Pussycats" however there is a tree blocking the "cats" part. ¬¬. Yeah. Hilarious, right? OK. Maybe I'm being too harsh. There were a couple of jokes that made me laugh, but most of them were misses.
What I respect the most about this movie, and makes it better than most stupid teen films out there, is its message, it is a satire of consumerism, it is saying that teens should be free thinkers instead of going with the flow, of listening songs, watching movies, wearing clothers, drinking stuff, just because everybody else does. And you know what, I think that is a perfectly valid message. I am a teenagers and I see this types of things all the time. People who don't think like the flow are excluded and labeled as freaks. Teens start adding thousand of people they barely know in the MSN or inviting thousands of people they never heard of to their parties just to look popular, it is a sad reallity, teens think that looking cool is everything, there is no room for personal thought if it isn't like the majority. They praise everything that is popular and new and hate everything that isn't the last sensation or is more than a month old. And that is why I stopped being so hard on this film while watching it.
However there are several problems in the message. If it is trying to tell teens to think for themselves, why there are so many product placements? Every frame of the movie has a logo, or a mascot, or a brand name. Maybe it was supposed to be a metaphor of how everything in our world is shaped by media, like Logorama. But Logorama didn't told us to think for ourselves it simply showed thousands of logos and mascots killing each other and destroying the world, which is saying that the world is being destroyed for being so much shaped by media. This movie just tells teens that the world is shaped by media. And...... I am a teen, I know teens, they are not so smart. Plus, teenagers may simply ignore the message of the film, after the movie, they may be compelled to buy even more useless stuff, heck, because of this movie now I know ten companies I have never even heard before. The viewers of this movie see more merchandising in it then they would see in two hour of straight commercials!!!
Another problem is that the movie seems very, VERY silly and over-the-top at points. Like if it doesn't know if it should be a serious film with a serious message, or if it should just be a silly teen film. If the movie can't take itself seriously, how are we supposed to take it seriously? The uneven tone between seriousness and silliness is also a problem.
There is also a couple of questions that kept popping in my head all the time: A. Are there any parent in this world? and B. Is everybody in the media an asshole? Although the answer to the question B seems to be Yes the first one led to a big plot hole in the movie.
There is a scene right in the beginning, where Wyatt goes to a store and gives to the seller or something like that ( I'm not very good in english I don't exactly know how to say what that person's job is ) a CD with the latest single by a popular boy band. The "seller" plays the music and instantly all the teenagers in the store start buying random stuff because of the subliminal message in the song, however one girl tells Wyatt right in front of the "seller" that she thinks that the song is crap. Wyatt asks her: "Well, if it's crap why does everybody seem to like it?". Then the girl answers "They'll like everything you say it's cool". Then Wyatt asks to talk to her alone (all this was right in front of the "seller"). When they are alone, several guys come and kidnapp her. And that is it. No one ever mentioned it again. What? Does the girl has any parents? Didn't they think it was a little weird that her daughter went to the record store and never came back. Did noobody notice that a girl simply disppear? And if they did, how wasn't Wyatt blamed? I mean the parents tell the cops that their daughter disappeared after going to the store. The cops enter the store and ask the "seller": "Have you seen this girl?". "Yes, she came here today, she was talking to a guy who gave me the last single of that band that misteriously disappeared last week, and she said that she thought the song was crap and teens only liked it because it was 'cool' and he asked her to talk to her alone and then she disappeared. "I see, so you have no idea of who could have kidnapped her?" "Not a clue."
(SPOILER, SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH) The ending is also a huge disappointment. I mean, the bad guys are arrested for conspiracy (even though the own goverment was part of it, but OK) and the Pussycats go perform at the gig...... and don't tell anyone. They don't tell anyone that they were used as guinea pigs for a conspiracy for making you buy things you don't need, the characters keep saying that this is bad, this wrong, but don't tell the world because they are constantly threatened but the conspirators but when they are free to tell everybody they don't!
Overall, Josie and the Pussycats is a middling movie with a troubled message. I don't think it is horrible because I was never bored by it and I lean towards being too generous with it because it is well-intentioned and ambitious ( maybe even too ambitious ). As a satire it's OK but there is not much to recommend about it besides it's well-intentioned if confused message. 4,2/10 - Bad.
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Dec 16, 2010
Mar 19, 2011 01:55 PM UTC
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The film grossed $14.3 million at the U.S. box office; however, its budget was an estimated $22 million, resulting in a domestic box office loss. Film critic Roger Ebert gave the film one-half of a star out of a possible four, commenting that "Josie and the Pussycats are not dumber than the Spice Girls, but they're as dumb as the Spice Girls, which is dumb enough."
Evaluating the film for the Onion A.V. Club in 2009, Nathan Rabin writes that it is "funny, sly and sweet' and "a sly, sustained spoof of consumerism". He rates the film as a "secret success". The film currently holds a 53% "Rotten" rating at RottenTomatoes.com, based on an average of 114 reviews.