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Introduction
I have to admit to being completely clueless about Josie and the Pussycats prior to receiving the review copy of the disc. Apparently it’s based on an old Archie comics sketch, although having never read that sketch I can’t comment on how faithful it is. To be honest I expected to be thoroughly bored by the whole affair, but I was in for a pleasant surprise.

Oh, if only Willow could see me now.
Film
Josie and the Pussycats is a pretty intelligent pastiche of the music industry. Not only does it send up preening bands and their soulless managers, but also the fan hysteria that surrounds them.

The Pussycats, Josie (Rachel Leigh Cook), Mel (Tara Reid) and Val (Rosario Dawson) are a struggling garage band based in Riverdale USA. So far the highlight of the band’s career has been their performance at the local bowling alley, and that didn’t exactly set the world alight.
 
Enter Wyatt Frame (Alan Cumming), A&R man for Mega Records, who is searching for a group to replace teen pop idols DuJour, who have mysteriously disappeared. Without hearing them play a note Wyatt snaps the band up and transports them into a world of glitzy launch parties, stadium concerts and fame and fortune. Inside of a week the girls are topping the charts all over the world, with legions of adoring fans clambering to see their idols in action. But is it the music that is making the Pussycats so popular, or something more sinister?

As I said before, the film really was a pleasant surprise. The choice of leading ladies is virtually purr-fect (sorry); I certainly couldn’t envisage anyone else in the roles. Rachel Leigh Cook plays Josie as a confidant woman with a hint of vulnerability, but she never slips into the tired role of damsel in distress. Tara Reid is fantastic as dizzy blonde drummer Mel, and I found myself laughing out loud at some of her, for want of a better word, Mel-isms. Rosario Dawson is also great, playing Val as a strong, but ever so slightly insecure woman. The fact that they're all stunning is neither here nor there...

The rest of the cast all put in good performances, especially Alan Cumming, but special mention must go to the band DuJour. They comprise of Seth Green (of Buffy fame), a couple of blokes from the movie Clueless (Donald Faison and Brekin Meyer) and some other random. Together they make for a frighteningly realistic group, with songs that will sound all-too familiar to all you boy band haters out there. Some of the best moments in the film are to be found in their short appearances. Oh, and I loved the fact that one of them had a pet monkey named Dr. Zaius!

Meeeow!
Video
The Pussycats’ world is a bright and colourful place, and the 1.85:1 anamorphic picture does a fantastic job of recreating this. Blacks are deep, colours are vibrant, and the image is sharp and detailed. This is among one of the best transfers I’ve seen in a while, and it’s nice to see effort being made to bring us R2 consumers a decent transfer of a relatively low-key release.

Audio
Josie and the Pussycats features an excellent soundtrack packed full of pop/rock songs that’ll make you smile. It is a good job then that the Dolby Digital 5.1 track is up to the task of reproducing those songs. The surround channels are used to good effect during the various tracks, although they are used rather sparingly elsewhere in the film. There are some nice positioning effects however, such as the scene when Mel walks from room to room chattering inanely, or when Josie is listening to her CD player in the street.

Absent from the R2 release is the DTS track found on the R1 disc. This is a real pity, as Josie is one film that could genuinely have benefited from such a track.

Extras
The disc comes with an average sized collection of bonus material, the best of which are the music videos. Included are videos for one Josie and the Pussycats and two DuJour tracks. The Josie track is the fantastically poppy and energetic ‘Three Small Words’. The two music videos from DuJour are hilarious, not to mention frighteningly realistic. The band prances around their private jet, camping it up with head-microphones firmly in place, miming to their latest hit tunes. The pick of the two songs, which are classic boy-band fare, is the dubiously titled ‘Back Door Lover’...

The featurette is less impressive, being only the standard ‘meet-the-cast’ affair. There are some glimpses behind the scenes, interspersed with clips from the movie, but it's mostly the cast going on about how great everybody is. Overall there’s nothing to get particularly excited about here.

The disc also includes three deleted scenes, two of which are fairly surreal, although the third, a showcase for the wonderfully ditzy Tara Reid, should probably have made the final cut.

Unfortunately we’re missing the commentary track found on the R1 disc. This is a great shame as it would have been nice to hear about the film in greater detail.

Are you noticing a trend here?
Overall
Josie and the Pussycats is fun film, with some genuinely amusing moments. The three leads do a great job and are totally charming in their respective roles. This, when combined with the great picture and sound quality, makes for an above average disc. It is a pity that the extra features are not up to the level of the R1 edition, but us R2 viewers should be getting used to that by now, eh? Overall I’d recommend the film to anyone who fancies an evening of light-hearted entertainment full of catchy, pop-orientated songs and beautiful people.


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