Wednesday, January 5, 2022

Josie and the Pussycats

I'm still waiting for a Du Jour spinoff. Even 20 years after its release, 2001's adaptation of the Archie Comics series and the Hanna-Barbera cartoon is simply a delight. A satirical take on pop culture and consumerism underneath a tale of a band's meteoric rise to the top of the pop charts, Josie and the Pussycats was well before its time carving out a cult status in the years since its lukewarm reception in theaters.

Following the plane crash of the delightful boy band Du Jour (Donald Faison, Seth Green, Breckin Meyer, and Alexander Martin), who discover something unexpected when listening to their latest mix tracks, their manipulative promoter (Alan Cumming) seeks another band to hide subliminal messages within their music and so we meet the Pussycats: Josie (Rachael Leigh Cook), Melody (Tara Reid), and Val (Rosario Dawson).

Including characters simply because they were in the comics, and at one point even directly acknowledging the fact, Josie and the Pussycats is respectful, but playful, with its roots. All three leads are perfectly cast and are obviously having a blast with the movie's wackier moments. The friendship between the wide-eyed Josie, the tough Val, and the bubbly Mel provides the heart of the film while delving into the evil machinations of the CEO of MegaRecords (Parker Posey). Posey's ridiculously over-the-top Fiona is one character I have some issues with, but the resolution to her story certainly pays off. And I defy anyone to offer a better reason why Behind the Music exists.

Sadly, the film's poor reception hurt talent both in front of and behind the cameras. The film's soundtrack was actually more successful that the movie, with Letters to Cleo's Kay Hanley providing Josie's singing voice, the likes of Adam Schlesinger, Jane Wiedlin, Berry Gordy, Dave Gibbs , and others writing the songs,  and our three stars actually performing backup. And, like the film, the soundtrack has aged fairly well as a snapshot of the early 2000s. It's not Shakespeare, but Josie and the Pussycats is a surprisingly sly piece of delightfully poppy entertainment which over the years has finally earned the praise it deserves. And, yes, I'm still waiting for that Du Jour spinoff. After all, Du Jour means sequel.

Watch the trailer
Listen to "Pretend To Be Nice"
Listen to "3 Small Words"
Listen to "Spin Around"
Listen to "Backdoor Lover"
  • Title: Josie and the Pussycats
  • IMDb: link

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