Looking for a fun movie to watch? Check out the underrated Josie and the Pussycats.
The script has a distinctive sense of humor, only I don’t think anyone got the joke. But come on, the set design used Target, Revlon, and Motorola logos in patterns so repetitive that they become meaningless. It not only swam in the brand-heavy sea that surrounds us, it reveled in pointing out how shallow that approach to life was. Personally, I love the satire of commercialism. Especially when they kidnap the nonconformist just before Alan Cumming discovers the band by running them down, all to the sounds of Meat Loaf (another favorite).
I think the fate of the movie itself shows how hard it is to do something outside the mainstream. They tried to package and sell it as your typical teen girl-makes-good flick, and there’s a lot more to it. For example, the obligatory makeover sequence/music video is filmed in harsh light and more closely resembles a horror film, with a flock of beauticians descending upon them as the girls try to retreat. Perhaps, also, the audience didn’t like being told to stop being manipulated and think for themselves.
(It didn’t help that the promo pictures were so terrible, with bad poses and worse clothes. Until I saw them, I didn’t know you could put Tara Reid in a top that made her look both fat and small-chested.)
The soundtrack is terrific, girl group power pop that’s hard to find. The vocals were done by Kay Hanley (of Letters to Cleo, which also contributed music to another favorite teen movie, 10 Things I Hate About You). And the songs were produced by Adam Schlesinger, of Fountains of Wayne.
I feel sorry for the other guy in Du Jour, though — there’s Seth Green, Donald Faison (Scrubs, Clueless), Breckin Meyer (too many teen movies), and … turns out his name is Alex Martin, Dean Martin’s grandson.