in the Hall: Brain Candy
review is property of its writer and publication and is reprinted
here without permission.
San Francisco Chronicle
By Edward Guthmann
idols to a generation of TV brats, the Kids in the Hall were the
entertainment worlds best-kept secret in the last decade. What
with ever-shifting time slots on HBO, CBS, and Comedy Central,
it took time and dedication to locate the five-man comedy troupe
on the tube.
with their first feature film, "Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy,"
the Toronto-based Kids - Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney,
and Scott Thompson - are making the same tube-to-screen transition
as "Wayne's World" and "The Coneheads." It opens today in Bay
comedies were produced by Lorne Michaels and adapted from popular
routines on his long-running "Saturday Night Live." Michaels,
also Canadian, discovered the Kids in a Toronto comedy club, put
them on TV and does right by them in this punchy, slightly uneven
satire about antidepressants, the nuclear family and coporate
by kelly Makin, who made 28 episode pf the "Kids," "Brain Candy"
follows Chris Cooper (McDonald), a scientist who invents the world's
greatest antidepressant, only to have it co-opted by Roritori,
a corrupt pharmaceutical firm headed by the godlike Don Roritor
baby is named Gleemonex and fed to an overmedicated populace.
Blinded by greed, Roritori's marketing division plots to sell
the drug to pets and ghetto kids, promising to make everyone feel
"like it's 72 degrees in your head every lovin' day."
see neglected grandmother Mrs. Hurdicure (Scott Thompson) blossom
under the influence of Gleemonex, and witness the change it makes
in Grivo (Bruce McCulloch), a heavy metal gloompot who starts
spouting ditties about love and "Happiness Pie."
with an extended narrative line, the format for "Brain Candy"
is basically unchanged from the Kids' TV shows: The comedy is
still character-driven, absurdist, and playful, and each of the
Kids still plays a variety of characters - often in drag. This
inspired goofing is in the same vein as Monty Python's Flying
else but the Kids would introduce Cancer Boy, an ailing bald kid
in a wheelchair, as part of their satire? Or Wally (Thompson),
a repressed homosexual who haunts public rest rooms for sex and
finally has the courage to come out - much to his wife's and children's
delight - when he discovers Gleemonex?
this kind of scattershot lampoon, it's inevitable that some ideas
will nosedive. The Wally sequence peters out during his big epiphany,
when he marches down the street, surrounded by family and neighbors
and sings "I'm gay!" in glorious triumph. Cute concept, disappointing
only way to enjoy "Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy" is to savor
the performances and behavior quirks, and release the notion that
plot is essential. The Kids are comic technicians par excellence
- McKinney and McCulloch are especially brillant here - and their
movie is a splendid showcase for their diverse, frisky talents.
a sad postscript to this movie. Based on interviews that Thompson
gave The Chronicle and other publications in recent weeks, "Brain
Candy" could be the Kids' swan song. The boys had broken up but
regrouped to make "Brain Candy," but reports of bitter squabbling
on the set don't suggest any further reunions soon. In fact, the
Kids are already focusing on their individual careers. Dave Foley
already stars in TV's "NewsRadio."
a shame, and more reason to grab some "Brain Candy" while it lasts.
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