A Whole Lotta Kids in the Hall

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Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

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Planet Lunch
By Jan M. Faust

Director: Kelly Makin
Screenplay: Norm Hiscock, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson
With: David Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson, Janeane Garofalo
Released by: Paramount Rated: R

To say, as Entertainment Weekly did in their F-graded review, that "it's no exaggeration to say that Brain Candy doesn't have a single good laugh" may itself be a bit of an exaggeration. There were, in fact, three good laughs that day in the theater. (One of those -- the biggest -- occurred when they ran the Beavis and Butthead trailer.)

Brain Candy is basically several sketches strung together along a story line about a pharmaceutical company in need of its next big hit. The sight of one drug developer being ignobly tossed from the boardroom convinces Dr. Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald) that his project had better be it. Compared to the presentation that precedes his ("this pill will give your ex-girlfriend worms"), his psychotropic panacea seems like a winner.

The pill works by isolating a user's favorite memory and looping it continuously. The catch: it hasn't really been tested. Regardless, it's dubbed Gleemonex by an unctuous marketing head (Bruce McCulloch), released prematurely, and becomes an instant hit across the nation. The nerdy Chris becomes a mega-star adored by beautiful women everywhere, and the head of the drug company (Mark McKinney) revels in having his drug surpass penicillin in popularity.

The rest of the film shows the effects of the drug on men, women, and children, as portrayed by the Kids in more than 30 roles. Great characters include David Foley, out of drag and playing it straight as the corporate yes-man, and Scott Thompson, maybe in drag as the gender-ambiguous Baxter. Fans of the Kids' television show will probably agree that the movie, while mostly entertaining without being uproarious, is better than their worst skits but not as good as their best. For this fan, the two good laughs it provided were worth the price of admission.


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 Trista Lycosky

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