“Josie and the Pussycats” is one smart teen flick. It’s funny and hip and sherbet-colored and all at the same time finds a way to mock the music industry. Plus, it has Parker Posey in it— which by many accounts tends to be a winning casting decision.
The film follows a group of small-town girls with rock ’n roll dreams. Soon, Josie (Rachael Leigh Cook) and her pals the Pussycats — ditzy Melody (played perfectly Tara Reid) and Valerie (Rosario Dawson) — are picked up by The Man and all their rock ’n roll dreams come true. They become the industry’s punk rock prom queens.
But the rock star’s life is not as pretty as they imagined it would be. Soon, Josie gets caught up in the madness and their music becomes saturated with subliminal messages that “The Man” (Parker Posey, Mr. Moviefone and Alan Cumming) wants to feed to the youth of America. Josie forgets that she got into the industry for her love of music and begins to neglect her friendships with Melody and Valerie. How evil does Josie get? Well, so evil she says this to poor Melody: “Puppies turn into dogs, who get old and DIE!”
A choice scene comes when Josie is off being a rock star and Carson Daly kidnaps Melody (his then-real-life love interest Reid) and tries to kill her on a fake TRL set. The movie is so self-knowing Carson even says to Melody: “If I wasn’t a key player in this whole conspiracy to brainwash the youth of America with rock music, we could totally date!”
Of course, Josie comes to her senses, The Man gets taken down (who knew that Parker’s Fiona had a lisp and was really a nerd?) and the girls rekindle their friendship. The 2001 flick is kind of primo and really stands the test of time in pop culture’s current fascination with pop music and gossip. How do I know? Well, I’m pretty self-knowing as well.