A Whole Lotta Kids in the Hall

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"Don't Take Candy From Kids"

This review is property of its writer and publication and is reprinted here without permission.

Fort Worth Star-Telegram
By Todd Camp

Crude, but easy to swallow

It's rude. It's silly. It's twisted. But Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy also happens to be very, very funny.

Canada's answer to Saturday Night Live--though more cutting-edge and usually a lot funnier, despite the involvement of SNL's executive producer, Lorne Michaels--The Kids in the Hall first emerged as a cult favorite in 1989 on Canada's CBC. Fans have since followed their exploits on HBO, CBS and now Comedy Central.

The five baby-faced boys created a cast of characters almost as bizarre as their own personalities. Folks like the part human/part fowl Chicken Lady, the obsessively nasty Head Crushing Guy and the inimitable gay pontificator Buddy Cole became old friends to growing crowds of Kids groupies, making a movie deal imminent.

But rather than stretch a popular skit to feature-length proportions--the formula that has worked so dismally for the SNL gang--the Kids created an original story that still manages to capture the flavor of the show.

The story centers on a pharmaceutical firm faced with financial problems. While reviewing the current projects of their research-and-development teams, the board discovers Dr. Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald), a dorky nobody who may have created a pill that cures depression.

Pressured into releasing the medical wonder before it's ready, Cooper watches his happiness drug skyrocket to success. Pill problems erupt, however, when the drug--which chemically recalls the user's happiest memory--locks its takers into a comatose state of glee.

As with the original series, each of the kids plays a number of roles, both male and female, and they again prove to be equally adept at both. McDonald has the most screen time as the ill-fated drug creator, but each kid shines in one role or another.

Mark McKinney is great as the gruff drug company head Don Roritor. Scott Thompson is a stitch as the married-with-children closet case Wally. Bruce McCulloch is on-target as a self-loathing rock star. Dave Foley is perfect as the brown-nosing flunky Marv.

Like the show, some of Brain Candy falls flat while other bits border on down right tasteless, but energetic performances and a sense of addictive absurdity help the film emerge as hilariously stupid and wickedly edgy as anything created for its TV incarnation.


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