Discs Are Rated
Click above to purchase "Josie and the Pussycats" at
Josie and the Pussycats
review by Zach B.
Running Time: 99 minutes
Starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, Rosario
Dawson, Alan Cumming, Gabriel Mann, Paulo Costanzo, Missi
Pyle and Parker Posey
Written and Directed by Deborah Kaplan & Harry
Retail Price: $26.95
Features: Audio Commentary with Writers and Directors
Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont and Producer Marc Platt,
Backstage Pass featurette, Deleted Scenes, Josie and the
Pussycats "3 Small Words" Music Video, Dujour "Backdoor
Lover" Music Video, Dujour "Dujour Around The World" Music
Video, Production Notes, Cast and Filmmakers, Theatrical
Trailer. DVD-ROM: Weblinks, Screensavers, Newsletter
Specs: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen, English Dolby
Digital 5.1, English DTS 5.1, French Dolby Digital 5.1,
English Captions, Scenes (18 Scenes)
"Josie, Carson Daly tried to kill us tonight and I
think it has something to do with our music!"
Heavily hyped and backed up with a giant ad campaign
aimed at the teen audience, "Josie and the Pussycats"
debuted during April 2001 and was a giant bomb commercially
and critically. Finally! A movie hyped and jammed in the
faces of teenage girls and it bombs! Maybe studios will
finally get the message that the teen genre is finally dying
(plenty of other teen aimed films bombed before this as we
know) and just because you have hot stars, a rockin'
soundtrack and a whole lot of advertising it doesn't mean it
will succeed. I only pray this movie sets an example. While
it failed at the box office, it also fails as a movie too.
Based on the Archie comic of the same name, "Josie and
the Pussycats" follows Josie (Rachael Leigh Cook), Melody
(Tara Reid) and Val (Rosario Dawson) as they are in a band
and are struggling for success. However, when the teen pop
sensation Dujour is missing after a freak plane accident of
sorts, it's up to Wyatt (Alan Cumming) of MegaRecords to get
a new act. He finds the Pussycats in Riverdale, signs them
to a big contract and soon they're all like, mega famous!
Soon, the true motives of Wyatt and his CEO boss Fiona
(Parker Posey) are revealed: they're using music to put in
subliminal advertisments (voiced by Mr. MovieFone) to teen
audience. Like, OMG! Can The Pussycats save America's youth
from evil corporate America?
The main problem with "Josie and the Pussycats" is its
far-fetched story and how predictible things can be. Not
that there is anything wrong with a far-fetched story since
it is a fictional movie, but I mean, come on. Sure it is the
vision and the idea, and that's fine, but I don't think it
works so much. So many things within this flick are too
ridiculous and the characters are way too naive. Though the
characters do mock themselves and the plot at some points,
it still doesn't work out correctly. The movie does go at a
quick pace, but what I found annoying how once characters
learn about some evil motives, they react to them, learn the
truth to them and then wrap it really quickly. There's no
time to really build any true tension, it's more "arngh I'm
angry" and then it's all solved within a matter of minutes.
There's so many moments too where we see how stupid the
characters are. I won't reveal them here, but trust me,
you'll see a lot of them. Some characters, like the
Pussycats' mananger, I didn't see a real point to. Sure they
are used and whatnot, but I mean, I didn't find them to
advance the story (and the manager's partner is only in the
movie because "she was in the comic book). Believe it or
not, this movie has themes of being yourself, loyalty and
remembering who you are, and it doesn't really preach about
it. This movie also has many mistakes within it all, I don't
know where to begin. But I will mention one that a lot will
pick up on: Wyatt mentions that the "taping of TRL is in two
hours" in a key scene. Wait, isn't "Total Request Live"
LIVE ? And shouldn't these teenyboppers know that?
It's a real shame too that the script fails, because this
really could have been a great satire. The whole opening
scene with the faux boy band "Dujour" and the idea of
subliminal advertising in music does show promise, but I
think Kaplan and Elfont get really ahead of themselves and
focus too much on other things. There's gold to be found in
with the advertising thing, and why there is a good amount
in the movie, their ideas about it, the way it is written
and presented doesn't get the whole picture. I felt there
could have been more focus on how easily teenagers are
influenced and how they follow what's new, what's hot etc.
but there isn't really much of that to be found here. I
think that was the point they were trying to make, but they
focus too much on the advertisers and subliminal messaging.
There's some stupid subplots too just to give it more
texture and feeling, but those are predictible and really
feel tacked-on. Also, you'd think all the ads in this movie
would pay for itself, but as we learn on the commentary
featured on this DVD, they didn't get any money off that.
The acting in this movie is surprisingly good, let alone
just a bit shallow. Dawson, Reid and Cook are all good
Pussycats and you get the sense there is chemistry and they
are friend. The always excellent and morphing Alan Cumming
is fun as Wyatt, while Posey is a bit eccentric and kooky as
Fiona. Not to mention the fun members of Dujour, which
include Breckin Meyer and Seth Green.
Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont wrote and directed this
movie together, as they did on their first directing outing,
1998's "Can't Hardly Wait", that being another teen comedy.
Of all the crop of teen movies out there, I enjoyed that
one. Here though, their script is flawed, but they certainly
do have a good directing style together that I liked.
Overall, this movie does not add-up. Good portions weight it
up, but other portions weigh it down. However, I will admit
this movie wasn't as bad as I thought it would be. Sure,
it's no "Get Over It", but in the end, it does a lot of
things right and a lot of things wrong. Still, if you're the
key demographic or have any interest in this movie, check it
Hands down, "Josie and the Pussycats" ranks as one of the
best, if not the best transfer for a live action film I've
seen on DVD during the year 2001 (thus far at least). I
didn't notice any dirt or blemishes on the print, which
really did surprise me and something I was really glad to
see. The bright and flashy colors are very vibrant and
snazzy, as those colors and fleshtones are well saturated.
Hues look perfect while black levels are solid. Detail is
also very good, and I didn't see any noise or shimmering.
The movie also captures the TV and documentary style look
well when it is supposed to, and doesn't go over the top
with it. There is also some very slight edge enhancment as
well. Overall, this is one impressive image that really
"Josie and the Pussycats" features an English DTS 5.1
track as well as Dolby Digital 5.1 tracks in English and
French. Overall, these tracks will give you a rockin' good
time. I found surround use to be surprisingly limited as a
lot of stuff was centered in the front sound stage. Still,
there is a lot of good sounds in this movie, such as the
whole jet sequence at the start of the movie, the finale and
of course, the music. This movie has a load of songs that
are mixed really nicely and are sure to please, it makes the
movie come to life. .1 LFE extension is pretty good as well.
Basically, I felt there could have been more surrounds and
on the DTS track, in the last scene, there was some
distortion (try to keep the volume low on that one to sort
of block it out). Overall, these are fine tracks for the
movie. I go with the DTS though, since it feels a bit more
natural and complete. English subtitles are also on this
Despite the movie being a financial flop, Universal has
put together a package worthy of a Collector's Edition, but
alas, it is not labeled one. The Audio Commentary with
Writers and Directors Deborah Kaplan & Harry Elfont and
Producer Marc Platt is pretty good. There are no real
gaps and they do offer some interesting information, but I
sort of felt they were kind of nervous. Platt's comments are
often contradicted by Kaplan and Elfont, and actually makes
me wonder if Platt was really on the set during production.
Still, you can see from this track they really did have a
good time making the movie. They tell background stories,
how things went, what days were like and offer a good amount
of praise. This is a pretty solid track as far as I'm
concerned, but some of the comments are a bit obvious.
The Backstage Pass featurette features clips from
the movie, clips from filming with the "Josie Cam" and
interviews. Interviews with Reid, Cumming, Cook, Dawson,
Parker Posey are featured, as well interviews with Elfont
and Kaplan. This featurette is fun, but strictly
promotional. They talk about music, the story and their own
rock experiences, among other things. It lasts twenty-four
There are three Deleted Scenes, two of which I
found to sort of be extended and alternative ones. The
scenes are in non-anamorphic widescreen and two channel
sound. These scenes are actually pretty entertaining, and
while there is no optional commentary as why they were cut,
I think these could have it back into the movie.
A slew of Music Videos are included from the
movie's bands. You have the catchy "3 Small Words" video
from Josie and the Pussycats, "Backdoor Lover" from Dujour
and "Dujour Around The World", obviously also from Dujour.
They're pretty fun to watch, actually.
Rounding the disc out are some Production Notes,
Cast And Filmmakers section with their bios and
filmographies, some Universal Reccommendations and
the Theatrical Trailer in non-anamorphic widescreen
and two channel sound. On the DVD-ROM front, you have
your usual Universal features, that include their DVD
newsletter, weblinks and other stuff.
While it's not the greatest teen movie ever and while it
is disappointing in numerous areas, this movie could have
been a lot worse and I was surprised that it wasn't too bad.
Universal has put together a fine package for the movie too,
complete with an amazing transfer that stunned me. "Josie
and the Pussycats" fans will want to add this to their
collection, and if you're interested in the movie, check it
(3/5 - NOT included in
(3.5/5, NOT an average)