KIDS IN THE HALL: BRAIN CANDY
Reviewed August 27th, 2002 by Brian White
“This is a drug that gives worms to ex-girlfriends..... Not too many flipper babies!”
The Kids in the Hall might as well share a slogan with a popular Canadian beer: Those who like it, like it a lot. An acquired taste, the Kids in the Hall were VERY popular to a discerning audience when the program debuted on CBC and HBO in the late eighties. However, their success at no point entered the mainstream. An article about the troupe once claimed that “when funny ‘hmmmmm’ becomes funny ‘ha!’ its out of style.” The Kids have never been short of funny “hmmmmmmm,” and there’s plenty here. However, I feel that the Kids have been unfairly labeled, as they are brilliant performers. Even when the subject matter is less than their best, the members of the troupe are very silly and entertaining whenever they are on the screen. However, it’s the funny “hmmmmmmm” stuff that you’re thinking about a couple of days after you’ve seen the performance.
Brain Candy is the story of a happy drug. This is the Kids’ satire of the Prozac nation. The Kids play several of the film’s characters.
Dr. Cooper, creater of the happy drug Gleeminex, is played by the hilarious Kevin McDonald. Pushing McDonald into the staring role is a stroke of genius. McDonald is somehow the silliest, and most interesting performer in a very talented group (I saw their tour this year, and he steals the show). Just as Graham Chapman starred in two Python flicks, McDonald has been pushed out front to great effect.
Ottawa’s own Mark McKinney plays the head of the pharmaceutical company, doing a great Lorne Michaels impersonation years before Dr. Evil. The always funny Scott Thompson’s best character is a closeted homosexual who doesn’t like people of that “type” who keep trying to kiss him. News Radio’s Dave Foley plays a great kiss-ass at the pharmaceutical company. Bruce McCulloch plays a bummed out musician, and perhaps the most creepy character in the troupe’s history, Cancer Boy.
So Brain Candy doesn’t hold your interest for the whole flick. Like all TV comedies brought to the big screen, it loses steam. The plot is good, and upon a second viewing, you can appreciate that the film’s content is quite rich. In the end, there are strong bits, but the movie is less than the sum of its parts. If that’s good enough for Python, it’s good enough for Kids in the Hall. If you dig the Kids, you’ll no doubt enjoy this movie. If they just aren’t your cup of tea, then this film will not convert you.
So Brain Candy has finally come to DVD. What is the result? Well the transfer is in 1.85:1, anamorphic widescreen. This wasn’t an overly expensive film, but it is but that doesn’t really take away from the look of the film. I wasn’t blown away by the quality, but there is nothing about the transfer that could yield any complaint. It’s colorful when it has to be, and is as detailed as it should be.
As for sound, a 5.1 Dolby Digital mix is included. I expected a stereo track, but Paramount has surprised me with a somewhat active mix that broadens and improves the sound of the film.
As for extras, Paramount, could I please have a few words alone? Y’see, that Jay and Silent Bob disc from Mirimax has several pieces of flair. You, with Brain Candy, have given us NO flair. You want to express yourself, don’t you Paramount? Hell, Jay and Silent Bob has a commentary, and a bunch of other stuff that takes up a second disc. Brain Candy has no flair at all. Paramount, do you want to be known for thinking the bare minimum is ok?
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