Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

Genres - Comedy  |   Sub-Genres - Showbiz Comedy, Teen Movie  |   Release Date - Apr 11, 2001 (USA)  |   Run Time - 100 min.  |   Countries - Canada , United States   |   MPAA Rating - PG13
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Review by Michael Hastings

Satirizing teen wish-fulfillment fantasies as it satisfies them, Josie and the Pussycats provides just enough bite to set it apart from the cookie-cutter parade of high-gloss, adolescent-marketed offerings of the new century. Although laid on in thick, broad, fluorescent-hued strokes, Josie's pointed satire could never be mistaken for mere absurdity: the plot insinuates that boy bands, MTV, and mall record stores are all part of a corporate conspiracy to sell more Starbucks coffee and Abercrombie and Fitch T-shirts. Directors Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont occasionally let the film's staging and pacing go slack -- perhaps they should've reviewed a few more screwball comedies before shooting -- but they smartly keep the proceedings at Saturday morning-cartoon level (even the insidious subliminal-advertising generator is a giant, opaque plastic box). Better yet, leads Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, and Tara Reid strike a near-perfect balance between savvy and giddy. The film's catchy, proto-grunge soundtrack may be its greatest asset and -- at least commercially -- its biggest liability: full of raw power chords and hummable melodies, it's a throwback to the days of good punk-pop, as opposed to the saccharine, Britney-esque sound of its time.