KITHfan.org: A Whole Lotta Kids in the Hall

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Dallas Morning News
By Beth Pinsker

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy, the Canadian comedy troupes feature film debut, should come with the warning "For Fans Only" instead of a subtitle. then again, the allusion to fluffy, mindless entertainment is an apt description of this collage of sketches that will become an instant cult classic among the groups devotees. It wont, however, do much for the uninitiated.

The sad thing about instant cult classics is that they attain that status through no merit of their own. The Kids are great comedians, who have aslew of fans from their recently ended HBO and CBS series. But those followers will be better off watching marathon repeats on Comedy Central than enduring the troupes poor attempt to broaden its appeal with diluted and stretched material.

While Brain Candy combines all the successful elements of their half-hour outings, the Kids seem hamstrung by having to stick to one story for a film-- even at a running time of only 90 minutes. Bits such as Cancer Boy, the hard-rock stylings of suicidal Grivo and Wallys coming out song and dance through suburbia are satisfyingly dark, but they make the rest of the film appear jumbled in comparison.

Like the members of Monty Python, the Kids play most of the major characters in their skits and often cross-ress. At times, the costuming and makeup are so sophisticated that its hard to recognize the actors from scene to scene. That at least makes this aspect of the film a fun game of hide-and-seek.

The standout Kids is Mark McKinney: He stars as Don Roritor, a demonic pharmaceutical-company czar who wants a new drug to sell. Mr. McKinneys nasal whine makes his character immediately annoying-- as hes supposed to be. And the actor changes his inflections expertly as he portrays scientist Simon, a disgruntled cabbie narrator, a talk-show host, and a few pations.

Roritors angst over sales falls on research scientist Chris Cooper, whose nerdy enthusiasm is overdone by Kevin McDonald. Dr. Cooper is working on Gleemonex, a drug that will relieve people of terminal depression by locking in on their happiest memory.

Playing the evil marketing genius Cisco, Bruce McCulloch has the only other interesting part. He spearheads the films most biting satirical scenes about selling untested products to a mass of gullible citizens. Scott Thompson puts in a lot of work as supporting characters such as the research groups first patient, scientist Baxter, the queen of England, and the closeted homosexual Wally. David Foley, who has become the most famous of the troupe since starring in NBCs NewsRadio, plays the bosss minion and a wacky psychiatrist.

Neither is in on much of the fun. Maybe that will spare them some embarrassment.

1.5 stars (our of a possible 4)

 

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