Movie: "Brain Candy"
Directed by: Kelly Makin
Writing credits: The Kids In The Hall
Plot: Scientist Chris Cooper invents ‘Gleeminex’ an incredibly powerful anti-depressant. Ailing Roritor Pharmaceuticals rushes the new drug onto market, saving the business and rocketing Cooper to media stardom. When consumers begin falling into comas as a side effect, Cooper wants to go to the media but Roritor has other ideas and a marketing department to implement them.
Review: Sketch comedy and movies are very different animals. Characters that work amazingly well for five minutes can become irritating at six and a premise strong enough to hold your attention between commercials can rarely be stretched to feature length. How many oily bags of crap shaped like movies based on SNL characters have to land in theaters to get one “Blues Brothers”? Even SCTV tried and failed with the Bruce and Doug McKenzie movie “Strange Brew”. Only Monty Python made the leap from exceptional television to classic films.
That being said, I think Kids In The Hall came damn close. “Brain Candy” is nowhere near as good as their most inspired sketches, but I think it’s a fine movie, and more than that, a brave piece of work. They brought to the movie just what they’d brought to TV, strong writing. They didn’t cave to any of what must have been monumental temptations in making a sketch to film journey. Brain Candy isn’t cluttered with classic characters making cameos for recognition laughs. The story isn’t a skeleton on which to hang set pieces. The multiple roles played by each actor are mostly new, developed to drive the story forward.
Some of the new characters are remarkable. Mark McKinney based Don Roritor on Lorne Michaels and it’s a fairly devastating critique. Scott Thompson’s Mrs. Hurdicure goes beyond comedy. When Gleeminex unlocks her happiest memory and we see how small and tawdry it is, but how she treasures it as the best her life has had to offer it’s funny as hell, but we’re also seeing a drag queen and a few casual family cruelties sketch the fragility of the human condition in a few quick lines with a skill Arthur Miller would have admired. It’s brutal and funny and beautiful all in the same few seconds.
Two endings were made for this film and supposedly the one the studio went with is the more upbeat of the two. Kind of makes you wonder just how much darker this black comedy could have been.
This film came out shortly after their five year run on television ended. If you’re one of many fans who saw it and came away feeling disappointed that it wasn’t as good as the show, I urge you to watch it again. I think it stands on it’s own as a movie very well.
(Scored on a 0.5 - 5 pickles rating: 0.5 being the worst and 5 being the best)
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