When I was a kid, Josie and the Pussycats was my number cartoon show. It was not very well drawn, and was pretty much just part of the Saturday morning line-up of other badly drawn Hanna-Barbera cartoons of the late 1960s-early 70s. The adventures of the band were fun, it was great to see the girls in their colour-coordinated mini-dresses and matching shoes, and I so wanted hair like Alexandra Cabot’s, but then, I was only six years old at the time. I also thought the nerd-girl Velma Hoople from Scooby-Doo was pretty cool, too.
So, fast forward to 2001, and now Josie and the Pussycats are a live action movie, with a rockin’ alternative sound, which was so much more “jerkin'”, than the original cartoon developers or even the artists at Archie Comics ever dreamed of, but that is not where this story begins. We open at an airport filled with hundreds of screaming teen fans dressed in pink, but they are not here for the Pussycats. These kids don’t even know the Pussycats exist. They are here to see the boy band, Du Jour. Du Jour is made up of four very cute guys, D.J. (Donald Faison), Marco (Breckin Meyer), Les (Alexander Martin), and Travis (Seth Green), and these kids just can’t get enough of them. Du Jour is being managed by Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming) of Mega Records. Wyatt is the one non-wizard that house Slytherin should have collected, because he has the contacts and the resources to make just about anything go the way he wants it to. His strings are being pulled by the CEO of Mega Records, a woman simply known as Fiona (Parker Posey).
After the meet and greet at the airport, the Du Jour boys get into some heated debates about silly things on the plane en route to another meet and greet in the small town of Riverdale, and this is more than Wyatt can take. Les calms them down, and the boys turn to Wyatt about a technical issue on their latest recording. They are hearing a very low track that has been added to their mix, and want to know why it is there. Wyatt says he’ll look into it, then he tells the pilot “Chevy to the levy”, and then Wyatt and the pilot don parachutes and bail from the plane. The boys are going to crash, and they freak out. We never see the crash, we just assume it happened. Now, Wyatt must find a band to replace Du Jour, and the pickin’ in Riverdale are extremely slim.
Meanwhile, on the end of a residential area side street, The Pussycats’ lead guitarist, Josie McCoy (Rachael Leigh Cook), bass guitarist, Valerie Brown (Rosario Dawson), and drummer, Melody Valentine (Tara Reid), have just come back from a mediocre gig at the local bowling alley, and are feeling a bit down. Their manager, Alexander Cabot (Paulo Costanzo) and his twin sister, Alexandra (Missi Pyle) show up to visit. Alex assures the ladies that he is doing everything to get them more work, but Alexandra tells them that he has actually been waiting in line for tickets to see Du Jour. Alex says he’s using to contacts for networking, making contacts in the biz, etc. The Pussycats have their doubts, but soon the Cabots leave, and Josie’s crush, Alan M. (Gabriel Mann) shows up, needing some repair work done on his truck. Josie fixes the truck, and even though the sexual tension between them is pretty thick, Alan never seems to understand what is going on. Josie goes back in the house to join the girls, and an MTV music news report comes on. The top story is about the band Du Jour, and how their plane crashed near Riverdale, but that the boys were missing. They are a little upset at the news, but grateful that the boys from Du Jour were not dead. At this time, Josie decides that Alex just can’t do enough for the band, and the girls need to do some self-promotion. They head down to the business district of town, and some unusual things are going on that they are not aware of.
About the same time girls came to the shopping area, Wyatt has taken the CD to the local record store to test the reaction of the shoppers, and the DJ, gives it a spin. Soon, the teen shoppers are chatting about things they must have, even though some of the things they want completely go against their nature. Wyatt seems pleased with the results, but still has a void to fill. He has to replace Du Jour, or the Mega Records project will fizzle out. As he is driving down Main St., the girls have just been booted from the spot where they were going play “Pussycats Unplugged”. They run right out into the street in front of Wyatt’s SUV, still holding their drums and guitars. Wyatt has found his replacement, and soon Josie and the Pussycats get caught up in a whirlwind adventure of over-abundant commercialism, government conspiracies, and even romantic rivalries. Even TRL’s Carson Daly has been paid off in this scheme, as well as Mr. Moviefone.
This movie never really got any awards for anything, but it was great to see one of my favourite cartoons come to life, and the soundtrack completely rocks, so I never really get tired of it. This movie is high energy, cute, and don’t watch it before going to bed, because it is too upbeat to make you want to hit the sheets right away. So go let your inner leopard out and join Josie and the Pussycats immediately!
I give this film a Musing review of