Patient: Josie and the Pussycats Profile: A girl band oh-so-loosely based on the wildly unpopular and lame '70s cartoon show hits it big only to find out that they're part of a corporate conspiracy to sell things to teenagers. Think Spice World meets A Hard Day's Night meets Bedazzled meets That Thing You Do meets Wall Streetmeets Wayne's World meets Stuff That Is Bleeding Obvious to Everyone.
Symptoms: Your material is only as good as your subject. In this case, they've chosen Josie and the Pussycats, a second-rate Scooby Doo, which was third rate to begin with (3Rate + 3Rate2 = Sucks3.) What? Couldn't secure the rights to Grape Ape or that talking dune buggy? Josie and the Pussycats is not funny and captures no one's imagination, and the 14-year-old girls it was supposed to attract have no idea the cartoon ever existed, which explains why they stayed away in droves. The few that did go were treated to the movie's self-referential skewering of consumer culture, which was about as subtle as a Sprite commercial. One normally doesn't find this kind of overt product placement outside a Bret Easton Ellis novel.
Script Doctor Diagnosis: Cartoon characters the target audience has never heard of involved in a plot they can see right through, in which the message is that big companies—like MGM, which released the film, and Sony, which released the soundtrack—are really interested in making money and that those ugly, unpopular kids in high school really are evil and unworthy of love. Well, duh!
Prescription: Hey, Oliver Stone: you're making a cartoon movie. You want to make a statement against commercialism? How about writing a movie that doesn't involve fast-food tie-ins? Look, it's Josie and the Pussycats. Deal with it. Write it funny and fast. You can update the references and still have the power pop; just lay off on the cultural comment because we can all see through the disingenuousness. You sold out; deal with it. Don't make us sit through your mea culpa. Write more jokes involving the word "pussy," and let us all get on with our lives.
Prognosis: Heh, heh, heh . . . pussy.
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