Excerpt from the Kids in the Hall
movie , "BRAIN CANDY
":Tell us what you've been working on...Well... I've invented a pill that gives worms to ex-girlfriends!Right... and... what's positive about that...?
(befuddled)Well... it's a pill... that gives worms... to ex-girlfriends!Well, could it also give worms to ex-boyfriends...?
(more frustrated)This is a drug -- for the world -- to give worms to ex-girlfriends...!Right, thanks for stopping by...
(stands up, looks at everyone as if they're laughably thick-headed)You just don't GET it here... huh-HOO!!!
I seem to spend a lot of entries on this blog praising unpopular things. I just know that my work's going to get shredded eventually -- and when that day arrives, I'd like to imagine someone will come to my defense to appreciate the good and not just the suck.
I've a great fondness for The Kids in the Hall
. I remember discovering them on HBO way back in junior high school and thinking they were the coolest thing ever
. Comedy Central aired episodes for a while, and they had a short-lived run on CBS. And yes, at the risk of being "one of those fans", the latter seasons weren't as funny/inspired. But how often can you really expect to catch comedy-troupe-lightning in a television-bottle??
Originally called "The Drug", Paramount encouraged them to rename their big feature debut the more marketable "Brain Candy"
There's a tradition of comedy troupes making big feature film debuts. Monty Python
& The Holy Grail
. Mr. Show
& Run Ronnie Run
. Tenacious D
@ the Pick of Destiny
And then there was Brain Candy
I DVR-ed it off of HBO HD last night because, honestly, how the hell else am I going to get to watch "Brain Candy" in high-definition?
It's a very peculiar movie. The Kids were experimenting with more surreal filmed segments
in its later seasons. In interviews, they talk about how the earlier seasons came more from their live theater shows, whereas later seasons exploited the filmed medium to a greater extent. So the movie acts as a progression of that. But of course, the major pitfall of any sketch comedy show expanding into a feature is shaking off the episodic nature of sketch comedy. Brain Candy suffers from this, just like all the sketch comedy films suffer from this.
It's stranger still because many of their characters were honed for live audiences. In the context of a movie, they sometimes seem a bit too silly. A lot of the humor in the show was seeing the Kids dress up in frocks and wigs, and it works in a live theater context because it's an absurd make-believe that the audience participates in, but there's less of an excuse for the Kids to play ALL the characters
in the movie. For a fan, it may not be much of a leap, but the movie ought to work for everybody... and clearly it didn't.
All that said, there are some great things to be found in Brain Candy. The drug company premise is strong. There are some hilarious sequences. Mark McKinney does a great impression of Dr. Evil
. It gains momentum and falters toward the finish line, sadly -- but there's too much good to dismiss. I won't hold my breath for The Criterion Collection: Brain Candy Blu-Ray
, but it's worth a reconsideration.
Malice gives it 3.5 crushed heads.