I remember exactly what I did when I stepped out of the cinema after watching Josie and the Pussycats for the first time – I called a ton of my friends and declared that “Josie and the Pussycats is the most awesome movie of all time!!!” I would’ve tweeted it, but this was 2001!
Which is why I really don’t understand why this movie didn’t do as well as it should’ve. It was intelligent and tons of fun, with plenty of eye-candy. I loved the way it managed to appeal to teenage trend-whores, while simultaneously parodying their behavior.
I guess that’s probably what killed the movie – too many people assumed it was a bullshit fluffy movie aimed at teenagers, with characters recycled from well-loved comics. And while I admit it looks like that, underneath the lip gloss and flashy costumes was a self-aware movie that was making serious social commentary about commercialism and marketing trends.
Think of it as a less violent version of Scream, except about teen movies and bands instead of horror movies.
What a cast!
The trio of girls were great it in, and they had a ton of chemistry and you could really feel that they were having a blast while making this movie. This infectious chemistry of theirs really drove the movie, and there was never a dull moment when all three girls were sharing a scene.
Tara Reid definitely stole the spotlight as the ditzy Melody, and while you can say what you will about her current trashiness, you can’t deny that she was absolutely perfect for this role.
But the mad props has to go to the two villains, Alan Cumming and Parker Posey. These two were just some of the funniest and quirkiest villains you’ll ever see. Cumming plays this sleazy music label guy, with the best facial expressions to go with his conniving nature. There was this amazing shot where he takes out an empty CD jewel case and holds it up to frame the three girls as an imaginary album cover… and then he flashes the sleaziest smile at the camera. A classic moment!
Parker Posey was well, her Parkey Posey self… on speed, with some ridiculously over-the-top costumes. She took that label owner character and gave her such exaggerated mannerism in that Parker Posey way. You can’t go wrong there.
There were also great cameos by Seth Green and the underrated Breckin Meyer, as the manufactured boy group Du Jour. Gawd, I loved that they’re so dumb that they don’t even understand the irony of the “Du Jour” name, constantly saying things like “Du jour means friendship!”
And that Backdoor Lover song? Cracks me up every time!
A rocking soundtrack
Josie and the Pussycats is one of those movies whose soundtracks sold better than the movie. It has a lot of great original tunes in it, contributed by artists like Anna Waronker (ex-lead singer of that dog.) and the singing duties were done by Kay Hanley from Letters to Cleo.
Seriously, you don’t need to even like the movie to enjoy these songs, and indeed many of my friends who watched the movie would go on to buy the soundtrack. Yeah… buy! Because once again, this was 2001… long before broadband Internet allowed you to download music in the blink of an eye.
This movie has got to be lining all those bargain bins at your local DVD store, so please… go pick it up. It’s a total classic!
Trivia: Although every single shot in this movie has some kind of brand logo involved, not a single one of them was paid for. The ridiculous product placement (which would drive the guy from Today I Watched a Movie nuts) was voluntarily added by the filmmakers as part of the gag.