Monday, November 08, 2010

Happy Birthday Parker Posey!

Happy 42nd birthday wishes to indie darling Parker Posey. Frankly, you can have all her hipster indie flicks, I'll take her role in the savagely underappreciated JOSIE & THE PUSSYCATS any day.

Admittedly, I had my doubts about the J&TP flick going in. After all, this is a movie based on a cartoon show that grew out of side characters in the Archie comics. That's like making a movie based on Lenny and Squiggy.

Director/writer duo Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont could've taken the easy road (ala SPICE WORLD) and run the characters of hard-rockin' guitar chick Josie (redheaded cutie Rachael Leigh Cook), aggressive bass player Val (the Pam Grier-in-waiting Rosario Dawson), and dopey-but-sweet drummer Melody (husky-voiced Tara Reid) through some mindless, boring affair aimed at who knows what audience.

Instead, they theorized that by mixing some clever looks at pop culture and product placement with a zany, over-the-top world domination scheme they'd attract a bigger audience. Or, at least as many people as went to see the first AUSTIN POWERS flick. (Unfortunately, this theory didn't hold much water and JOSIE opened in 7th place at the box office – whatever following it does have is probably due to the repeat viewings on cable and/or home video.)

With #1 boy band DuJour (featuring Seth Green and the guy from ROAD TRIP in hysterical turns) MIA after stumbling onto subliminal messages in their songs, evil record company flunky Wyatt (Alan Cummings looking like a cross between Pee-wee Herman and Robert Downey, Jr.) is charged with the task of finding another band to carry said messages to the youth of today, or he'll be at the mercy of Fiona, the evil record company exec (played with sinister glee by birthday gal Posey). The pair remind me of Richard Grant and Sandra Bernhard in HUDSON HAWK, another underappreciated, ahead-of-its time gem.

Stumbling across Josie and pals at an intersection, Wyatt puts plans into action and the girls find themselves whisked away where they shoot to the top of charts, battle dissension within their ranks, make hot videos, and wear a seemingly-inexhaustible supply of cute outfits.

Hell, there's even a sweetly romantic subplot between Josie and Alan M (played by some guy who looks JUST like a young James Spader!) that captures the maddening, sick-to-my stomach wonder of telling the person you love how you really feel about them. Of course, it all comes to a head on the night of the big concert where good side and bad side play tug-of-war the likes of which hasn't been seen in a rock 'n' roll flick since KISS MEETS THE PHANTOM!

If you had told me that I'd come out of this flick praising it as a wondrous, damn sexy, hilarious blend of the first AUSTIN POWERS, Russ Myers' BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS and HUDSON HAWK, I'd say you were too busy huffing aerosol. Yet, here I am, saying just that.

Josie and the Pussycats. Breakin' records, breakin' hearts... indeed.

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