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With: Rachael Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, Tara Reid, Alan Cumming, Parker Posey, Gabriel Mann, Missi Pyle, Seth Green, Donald Faison, Breckin Meyer
Written by: Deborah Kaplan, Harry Elfont, based on characters from "Archie" comics
Directed by: Harry Elfont, Deborah Kaplan
MPAA Rating: PG for sensuality and language
Running Time: 98
Date: 04/06/2001

Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Pretty Kitties

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

Though they don't actually solve any crimes, everybody's favorite comic book girl band stillmakes a spry and winningly humorous live-action film debut. Rachael Leigh Cook,Tara Reid, and Rosario Dawson play the kitty-ear wearing trio, and to mydelight, they play grinding Ramones-like power-pop tunes instead of the typicaltop-40 whiny, shiny crap. The kick-off song, "3 Small Words," ought to be a topcontender for next year's Oscar: it's a perfect pop tune.

The movie doesn't ignore the sorry state of top 40 music today, not by a long shot. It takes the opportunity to introduce us to a boy band called Du Jour, or "of the day" for those without any French, then kills off the same band in the space of 15 minutes. Delicious revenge for anyone with musical taste.

The plot goes even farther with bad guys Alan Cumming and Parker Posey controlling the shopping habits of teenagers through subliminal messages in their heavily marketed pop music. To this end, the movie ridicules product placement in movies by going way over the top with it. Dish washing detergent shows up in the strangest places, and Dawson can be seen hugging a "Target" pillow in her hotel room.

Directed by Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont, Josie and the Pussycats moves like one of its songs, fast, sexy, and fun. It's the greatest movie ever! Wait. Did I just say that?

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