in the Hall: Brain Candy (Comedy, Color, R, 1:28)
review is property of its writer and publication and is reprinted
here without permission.
By Leonard Klady
(Variety) - Television's Kids in the Hall make a relatively smooth,
if offbeat, transition to the bigscreen with "Brain Candy."
mad scientist/corporate heavy comedy is an odd combination of
belly laughs and cerebral humor that will delight those familiar
with the sketchcom troupe's antics.
a tad too hip to translate across the board, it should wind up
as a mid-range domestic success, with good overseas potential
in markets where the TV show is aired.
a solid showcase for the Kids (who collectively play 32 roles)
and their wry, wicked observations, this maiden film effort provides
strong ammunition for a follow-up. A good commercial opening should
widen the group's audience beyond the current cult following.
simple saga involves the fortunes of the mammoth pharmaceutical
concern Roritor. The maker of Stummies is in desperate need of
a hit drug to put it back in profit.
most of its research units are involved in rather arcane pursuits.
One by one, the scientific chiefs detail projects to the board
of directors and wind up victims of corporate downsizing.
Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald) tells the board of "favorable results"
of his new antidepressant, which has not been fully tested.
company bigshots only want to know whether it's ready; facing
the unemployment line, the scientist caves in to their needs.
In a flash, the drug is dubbed Gleemonex and outperforms penicillin
on the charts of Drug Variety.
stock goes soaring, Cooper becomes a media star, the company moves
to have the pill reclassified for over-the-counter availability
... and the first side effects arise. A small percentage of repeat
users literally become stuck fixating on their greatest moment
of happiness -- the key to the drug's effectiveness.
Candy" is rather unusual in the current comedy sweepstakes because
of its serious underpinnings. Kids in the Hall are social satirists
in an era when humor tends to be anarchic or about bowel movements.
the story enjoys going off on tangents, it has a solid core that
brings together its myriad strings. While the deadpan approach
and its corporate setting recall the misfired "Hudsucker Proxy,"
the ensemble is assured and adroitly gets the gags across without
telegraphing punch lines.
the five Kids playing the lion's share of roles, the rest of the
cast consists largely of day players and extras. (Brendan Fraser
pops up in an uncredited cameo as a member of an experiment gone
while many of the troupe's characters derive from the TV series,
there is no attempt to tailor the film to conform to previous
small-screen scenarios. (This approach is not unlike the one Monty
Python used in its first movies.)
film provides an opportunity for the individual troupe members
to display their versatility. Bruce McCulloch gets to play the
surliest of marketing execs as well as the serene Cancer Boy,
while Mark McKinney goes from the somewhat blind head of Roritor
to a female talkshow host and a martinet of a drill sergeant.
five members demonstrate that they are more than just sketch artists.
Four of them are also among the five scripters of the piece.
credits are good, but director Kelly Makin, who helmed many episodes
of the "Kids in the Hall" TV series, appears to be still learning
how to compose on a large screen.
is most evident in a sequence in which a character's sexual awakening
dawns: Attempts to explode into a glorious song-and-dance number
fall short of the opportunity.
Candy" is good for the head. Still, it might be too intellectual
for the masses, who may need a couple of more shots of this unique
comic prescription to fully appreciate the joke.
David Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Nina Bedford, Mark
McKinney, Scott Thompson, Janeane Garofalo.
by Kelly Makin. Screenplay, Norm Hiscock, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin
McDonald, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson. Camera (Deluxe), David
Makin; editor, Christopher Cooper; music, Craig Northey; production
design, Gregory P. Keen; art direction, Paul Denham Austerberry;
sound (Dolby), Bruce D. Carwardine; assistant director, Walter
Gasparovic; casting, Ross Clydesdale.
Paramount Pictures release of a Lakeshore Entertainment presentation
of a Lorne Michaels production. Produced by Michaels. Executive
producers, Tom Rosenberg, Sigurjon Sighvatsson, David Steinberg.
Co-producers, Barnaby Thompson, Richard S. Wright
To This Page