Josie and the Pussycats (2001)

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Released 2-Jan-2002

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Main Menu Audio & Animation
Featurette-Backstage Pass
Deleted Scenes-3
Theatrical Trailer
Music Video-3 Small Words-Josie and the Pussycats
Music Video-Backdoor Lover-Dujour
Music Video-Around The World-Dujour
Rating Rated PG
Year Of Production 2001
Running Time 94:28 (Case: 98)
RSDL / Flipper RSDL (68:43) Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Deborah Kaplan
Harry Elfont
Studio
Distributor

Twentieth Century Fox
Starring Rachael Leigh Cook
Tara Reid
Rosario Dawson
Alan Cumming
Gabriel Mann
Paulo Costanzo
Missi Pyle
Parker Posey
Case ?
RPI $36.95 Music John Frizzell


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
German Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Italian Dolby Digital 5.1 (448Kb/s)
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 1.85:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 576i (PAL)
Original Aspect Ratio 1.85:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired
German for the Hearing Impaired
Italian
Swedish
Finnish
Norwegian
Danish
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement Yes, everywhere!
Action In or After Credits Yes, out-takes during credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    For a movie that's called Josie and the Pussycats, it seems odd that it begins with a boy band. The boy band is called Dujour, and they are surrounded by screaming fans. They arrive at the airport to leave for their next gig, but they find time to perform a song (Backdoor Lover) on the tarmac. We follow them onto their plane. The film is mostly played straight, but massively tongue-in-cheek. There is more product placement than you can imagine - the inside of Dujour's plane is plastered with Target logos, for example.

    Dujour is played brilliantly deadpan by actors who don't get full credit in the cast list - only Alex Martin is credited as Les. I recognised Seth Green (as Travis) but not the other two. All seems to be going well for Dujour until they happen to ask their manager Wyatt Frame (Alan Cummings, very sinister in tinted glasses) about a background track on their latest single. He disclaims all knowledge, but immediately leaves the plane with the pilot (in midair, by parachute). On landing, Wyatt makes a phone call: "Looks like we need a new band". He has landed just outside Riverdale, where The Pussycats live. Gosh, what a coincidence! 

    We meet The Pussycats playing in a bowling alley. The lead singer and guitarist is Josie (Rachel Leigh Cook, with red hair for a change); the bass guitarist is Val (Rosario Dawson); the drummer is Melody (Tara Reid). Wyatt runs into The Pussycats (almost literally) - Paradise by the Dashboard Light is playing, I think it should have been Band on the Run - and signs them to Mega Records.

    Perhaps the only real flaw in this movie is the way that it tries so very hard to be arch. (Horrible thought: I wonder if they did that deliberately, given that the characters come from the Archie comics? Nah - that's too subtle for an American film) Most of the time it comes off well, but there are exceptions... Perhaps the weakest part is Fiona (Parker Posey) - the CEO of Mega Records - she tries hard, but fails; maybe another actress could have pulled it off, or maybe they needed a different scriptwriter.

    Josie and the Pussycats make a record, and we see it climb the charts - interestingly, we see four top 40 charts, but Josie comments that all this happened in a week (should someone tell them that the top 40 only comes out once a week?). One of the many fun things you can do with your remote is read the names of the other songs on the record charts - this is a movie where freeze-framing and reading the backgrounds is rather fun.

    Naturally, this being a teen movie, the teens catch on to what's going on (I'm not going to tell you the whole plot), and you can probably guess the rest...

    The best advice I can give you is not to think too hard about the movie, and enjoy it.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    This movie is presented in an aspect ratio of 1.85:1 and is 16x9 enhanced. This is the original aspect ratio.

    The picture is very sharp and clear. Shadow detail is excellent. There's no low-level noise.

    Colour is clear and bright. There are lots of bright colours, in large swathes - first pink, then orange, then blue. There's no colour bleed, even with that much provocation. 

    There are no film artefacts, but there's lots of aliasing, some strobing (25:10 for example), moire (6:18 and 19:00, for example), shimmer (28:35, for example), and even some moments of minor cross-colouration. I'd have been happier with a bit less sharpness, if it had reduced these problems. The artefacts are not huge, but they are noticeable, and a little distracting.

    The subtitles are easy to read, well-timed, and accurate.

    The disc is single-sided, dual layer, formatted RSDL, with the layer change at 68:43. This is an excellent layer change, placed where the shot is showing a mixing desk.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    All the soundtracks are Dolby Digital 5.1. I listened to the English soundtrack only.

    The dialogue is easy to understand, and there are no audio sync problems.

    The score is credited to John Frizzell, but a lot of it is songs - the music is contemporary, cheerful, and upbeat - I liked it, and even caught myself whistling some of the tunes afterwards. The words to The Pussycats songs are fun.

    The surrounds get their big moment as we're entering the underground headquarters; other than that, they have little to do but add some depth to the soundstage. The subwoofer supports the soundtrack, but isn't noticeable - I think its big moment came during the MGM logo.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Menu

    The menus are animated, with music (the Region 1 menus are not animated). There are symbols rather than words for some of the selections, making this a little less easy to navigate. I nearly missed the music video extras because I didn't realise that there was a second page of extras.

Featurette: Backstage Pass (23:49)

    This is a interesting effort, including quite a bit of information on the process of making this film. Amazing to learn that none of the Pussycats had played before - they spent a lot of time learning how to play the three songs they perform on screen. We also get to see Rachel Leigh Cook (who I've only previously seen as a brunette, even though she's a red-head in this movie) with a blonde crop - I didn't recognise her at first.

Deleted Scenes

Trailer (2:17)

    A normal trailer, presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.78:1.

Music Videos

    Music videos, presented in an aspect ratio of about 1.85:1, but not 16x9 enhanced.

    These music videos seem to be more fun because they are not for real bands - does that make sense?

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    The Region 1 DVD is missing:

    The Region 4 DVD is missing:

    The Region 1 video transfer is very slightly softer than the Region 4, and has far fewer artefacts, although it still shows a little aliasing. The Region 1 layer change is at least as good as the Region 4 - it is placed at the end of a scene, looking at a closed door, and is pretty much invisible.

    I found it interesting that the Region 1 version starts with the Universal logo, then the MGM lion (which morphs into one of Dujour's fans screaming), while the Region 4 disc has MGM first, then Universal. The morph is rather cool - shame the R4 misses out.

    The Region 4 version is OK, and this is hardly a classic film, so you could do worse than get the Region 4. On the other hand, if you're a huge fan, then the Region 1 version is easy to recommend, complete with dts soundtrack.

Summary

    A lightweight, but pleasant story on a reasonable DVD.

    The video quality is good, but flawed with frequent small film-to-video artefacts.

    The audio quality is quite good.

    The extras are good, but the Region 1 version has lots more.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Tony Rogers (bio-degrading: making a fool of oneself in a bio...)
Saturday, December 08, 2001
Review Equipment
DVDArcam DV88, using Component output
DisplaySony VPH-G70 CRT Projector, QuadScan Elite scaler (Tripler), ScreenTechnics 110. Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.
AmplificationDenon AVC-A1SE
SpeakersFront Left and Right: Krix Euphonix, Centre: Krix KDX-C Rears: Krix KDX-M, Subwoofer: Krix Seismix 5

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