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Josie and the Pussycats

Directors/Writers:Deborah Kaplan and Harry Elfont
Universal Pictures and MGM; PG-13; 98 minutes
Cast:Rachel Leigh Cook, Rosario Dawson, Tara Reid

Those who remember '70s cartoon Josie and the Pussycats will recall that it wasn't quite as good as Scooby-Doo, the series Josie's screenwriters got most of their ideas from. This 2001 remake scraps the original sleuthing-rock combo and settles on a half-baked half-parody of the music business.

Josie (Rachel Leigh Cook) and fellow band members Val (Rosario Dawson) and Melody (Tara Reid) get discovered by a high-powered A&R rep (Alan Cumming) while playing a hometown bowling alley. Within a week the Pussycats have been catapulted into Spice Girl status, with countless products and concerts and magazine covers. This candy-coated film never achieves satire, however: more than a dozen commercial brands get mercilessly plugged during the course of its 98 minutes. Dramatic complications arise when Josie and the Pussycats learn of a government conspiracy to put subliminal advertising in their pop songs. Would that the film were so subtle about its advertising—it could have saved more time for entertainment.

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