Candy is Sugar for the Wittily Perverse"
review is property of its writer and publication and is reprinted
here without permission.
Los Angeles Times
By John Anderson
Like Monty Python's Flying Circus, the Kids in the Hall have achieved
their widest popularity posthumously. Having first hit the airwaves
in 1989 over Canada's CBC, the troupe moved on to HBO, then to
the more accessible Comedy Central, where their old shows now
enjoy multiple daily showings and seem to win converts with the
same frequency. But they don't make new TV shows anymore; the
members have moved on to individual projects. They may exist in
the future only as a movie-making unit.
is bad for committed couch potatoes, but OK for movie-goers, especially
if the results resemble "Kids in the Hall Brain Candy," the first
indication in some time that movie comedy can be snatched from
the slavering jaws of complete idiocy. It's not that the Kids
don't flirt with idiocy. It's just not complete.
They indulge themselves in social commentary (offhanded), sexual
banter (heavy-handed) and media bashing (backhanded) while exploiting
the other traits they share with the Pythons -- which include
a fondness for playing in drag, a contempt for narrative boundaries,
a general flair for the outrageous and, most importantly, a mean
streak. The Kids are mean, but meanness, along with brevity is
the soul of modern wit.
ostensible story line of "Brain Candy" si a bit like a flatbed
truck in the Tournament of Roses Parade: It gets the ornamentation
from here to there. While working a number of their TV characters
into the mix (like White Trash Man and White Trash Woman, played
by Bruce McCulloch and Mark McKinney) they tell the story of research
scientist Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald) whose funding is going
to be cut by the ruthless CEO Don Roritor (McKinney) unless he
releases his team's new drug, the ultimate antidepressant. Dubbed
Gleemonex by satanic marketing director Cisco (McCulloch), the
pill is a huge success -- except that it eventually causes a coma-like
state in which the patient keeps reliving his or her happiest
moment (and what constitutes the happier moments is one of the
movie's darker jokes). Cooper wants a recall; Roritor, assisted
by yes man Marv (David Foley), wants profits.
cuts a vicious swath through the culture. Grivo (McCulloch), a
heavy-metal doomsayer, turns into a flower child; Wally (Thompson),
the world's most repressed homosexual, comes out of the closet
in a musical hallelujah that recalls somethign out of "Bye Bye
Birdie." Cooper becomes a media darling and a gues of TV talk
host Nina Bedford (McKinney), whose biggest question si "How big
is your house?"
Candy" takes few prisoners. Cops, class, corporate ethics (an
oxymoron?) all get trashed; there are suicide jokes, birth defect
jokes, Queen Elizabeth sight gags and a visit from Cancer Boy
(McCulloch), who thanks Cooper for creating Gleemonex. "There's
no hope for me," he says, "but my parents are on it." No, "Brain
Candy" is not for kids. But adults, especially those cursed with
a twisted, jaded or perverse sense of humor, will find plenty
in it to laugh about.
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