Josie And The Pussycats review

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Part satire on the post-Spice Girls world of prefab pop and part tongue-in-cheek outcry against rampant consumerism, Josie And The Pussycats proves that not all movies aimed at teenage girls have to be as purposeless as Virtual Sexuality.

Okay, so it's not exactly the cinematic equivalent of the Sex Pistols, what with its perky colour scheme, pop promo cutting and the Pussycats' inoffensive brand of bubblegum punk. But in taking these sex kittens off the pages of the Archie comic books and out of the animated realms of the Hanna-Barbera `70s toons, the film-makers have at least retained some sly humour and gentle anarchy beneath the plastic surface.

Take the opening scene, in which boy band Du Jour belt out their latest single, Backdoor Lover, while thrusting their hips in each others' direction. Or a peripheral character's machine-gun response to the question: ""Why are you here?"" ""I'm here because I was in the comic book."" Or, best of all, the cheekily blatant product placements for Starbucks, Evian and Coke... this in a film that some have half-jokingly called a "teenage Fight Club" because of its anti-consumerist stance.

Like so many real-life bands, though, Pussycats the movie eventually sells out, ditching the spiky satire in favour of Pow! Zap! Bang! fisticuffs when our teen trio discover what their music is being used for. The girls flounce, bounce and trounce like trainee Charlie's Angels, and Parker Posey's nefarious CEO - - the brain behind the brainwashing - never has a chance (also true of Posey herself, having been handed such an underwritten role).

Still, Pussycats is never anything less than entertaining and, for an hour at least, is often more. Give it a punt and it's almost possible to forgive writer/director team Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan for scribbling The Flinstones In Viva Rock Vegas. Almost.

Perhaps taking their screenplay for A Very Brady Sequel as inspiration, the film-makers marry surface gloss with underlying mockery to wicked effect. Pussycats curls up and naps in the final stages, but there's still enough here to get audiences purring.

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