The Guilty Pleasures: “Josie and the Pussycats”
It seems that without fail, I can never look away from this film once it appears on my TV screen. The appeal of this movie hurts me to the core; it brings me to a shame that would make Mother Teresa blush. I can’t imagine admitting this to anyone in my circle of family and friends. Only in the perceived safety of the internet and among fellow movie-buffs can I out-and-out say that I thoroughly enjoy Josie and the Pussycats. It’s currently at #50 on my Flickchart, just between Rachel Getting Married and Punch-Drunk Love. On the surface it’s asinine, it looks like the American version of Spice World, and it appeals to almost every feminine aspect that my feminist mother is against – but still…
This move came out when I was at the tender, impressionable age of ten (yes, I’m a baby). I saw it in the same week that I saw Best in Show – my mom let me rent the former and I stumbled across the latter on TV later that week. So you can understand the conflicting feelings in me now, as an adult, with a self-proclaimed refined taste. How on Earth did I not abandon this film like the plague when I got older? I’m a film major and should technically “know” better, but this film triggers childish, musical, bubble-gum fantasies in me every time I hear those unbelievably catchy songs. I’m an unbelievable sucker for bright colors, mindless joy, and sarcasm. Which are three things that Josie and the Pussycats has in endless supply.
To be totally honest with you, as hard as it may be to believe, I was well aware of the film’s self-referential, self-deprecating nature even at a young age. It plays with genre conventions and winks at the camera constantly. I loved that Target, Revlon, and McDonald’s were product-placed like nobody’s business, because that was the point. Or was it? Some cynics might say that the film’s product placement is the height of irony, but I’m almost certain that it was all intentional. Beyond the great satire, I really enjoy most of the cast. Frankly, Rachael Leigh-Cook isn’t all that interesting as an actress – and Josie suffers because of that – but the supporting cast pretty much makes up for her lack of flavor. I can’t resist Parker Posey, Alan Cumming, and Missi Pyle. They’re very aware of what’s going on and the type of movie that they’re making and that just really ties everything together. Even Tara Reid’s ditsy-blonde act becomes a little more endearing.
A few months ago, while trying to ramp-up and refresh my music library, I came this close to downloading the songs from the movie. But the angel of social respect called out to me and pretty much knocked my hand off my mousepad. Is it terrible that I care what other people think of my playlist? Either way, guilty pleasures wouldn’t exist if we didn’t collectively judge people’s taste. The thing is, that just furthers my shame; why should I care what people think? You know what, I love Josie and the Pussycats, I love when Parker Posey gets feathers caught in her mouth, I love when Tara Reid sings “If You’re Happy and You Know It,” and I love that the subliminal messages are done by Mr. Moviefone! It’s fun, adorable, and in the words of the little girl from Despicable Me, “It’s so fluffy!”