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"Candy" Leaves a Bad Taste

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Washington Post
By Rita Kempley

A frenzied quintet of Canadian cross-dressers, Kids in the Hall explore the perils of Prozac in "Brain Candy", a tiresome satire about a nerdy scientist (Kevin McDonald) corrupted by corporate greed. The erroneous message of this shrill and slovenly opus, the Kids assert, is: "You can't feel happy unless you have felt really down."

Co-written by the troupe, the sketchy, skitlike screenplay opens in the underground laboratories of a pharmaceutical conglomerate, where a team of earnest young researchers is testing Gleemonex, a new antidepressant. Upstairs, meanwhile, the company's ruthless owner (Mark McKinney) is reporting a decline in profits to the members of his board.

With the help of his yes man (David Foley), the evil magnate pressures the scientist to release Gleemonex without further testing. After the entire population has gone up, up, up on the mood elevator, the researchers discover a serious side effect: Gleemonex users become so passive they fall into comas.

Clearly something must be done, but what?

In most situations, the Kids change wigs. Each of the comics plays several roles, which has less to do with versatility than with the group's vast supply of hairpieces. Since drag is one of their specialties, they also draw inspiration from the Queen Elizabeth collection.

In all they create 40 new characters, including Bruce McCulloch's ladylike girl scientist and Scott Thompson's towering drag queen. Unfortunately, none of the femmes is as entertaining as Mrs. Doubtfire or the flock from "The Birdcage". And with cross-dressing going mainstream, the group's reputation for the cutting edge has dulled. Even their in-the-know gay jokes are uninspired: A bunch of men fleeing a public restroom with their pants down; a bunch of men fleeing a vacant basement with their pants down; a bunch of soldiers...Well, you get the idea.

 

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