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Paramount Studios presents
Kids In The Hall: Brain Candy (1996)

Scientist: I've invented a pill that will give worms to ex-girlfriends.
Don: Right, and what's positive about that?
Scientist: Well...it's a pill that gives worms to ex-girlfriends!
Don: Could it also give worms to ex-boyfriends?
Scientist: This... is a drug... for the world... to give worms to ex-girlfriends!

- Bruce McCulloch, Mark McKinney

Review By: Dan Lopez   
Published: July 15, 2002

Stars: Scott Thompson, Bruce McCullough, Kevin McDonald
Other Stars: Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Brendan Frasier
Director: Kelly Makin

Manufacturer: DVCC
MPAA Rating: R for (language and sexual humor)
Run Time: 01h:28m:00s
Release Date: July 16, 2002
UPC: 097363314844
Genre: comedy


Style
Grade
Substance
Grade
Image Transfer
Grade
Audio Transfer
Grade
Extras
Grade
B+ B+A-B+ D-

DVD Review

In 1994, the 5-year run of the television sketch comedy show, The Kids In The Hall came to an end, voluntarily on the part of it's five participants who wanted to move on to other projects. Dave Foley, Mark McKinney, Scott Thompson, Kevin McDonald, and Bruce McCulloch later decided to re-unite and create a full-length feature film. The end result was Brain Candy which, at the time, was anxiously awaited by myself and other long-time fans of the KITH troupe. Taking a clever approach, the KITH-lads created an original, linear script with a basic story, and avoided using any of their previous material or characters in any significant way. Brain Candy was largely a critical flop, performing poorly at the box-office and achieving quick 'cult' status with fans of the TV show. In defense of the project, though, it's obvious the boys made a movie that they would find funny and that their fans would probably find funny, but could care less how it compared to the average theatrical comedy.

In the story, Dr. Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald) invents an anti-depression drug for the Roritor Pharmaceutical company. When the company undergoes a period of mass-firings, Cooper exaggerates the effectiveness of his drug to keep his job. Dubbed "Gleemonex", his pill is instantly released to the public with great success, for it locks on to a person's fondest memory and keeps them in that state until it wears off. The problem is, the drug is far from completed, and side-effects begin to show up. This premise is really just an excuse for bringing out a menagerie of strange characters and situations through which Cooper, his friends, and other assorted people will travel. The storyline is obviously designed as a satire of the anti-depression drug culture of the time (when virtually everyone was being prescribed Prozac), and in that capacity it works well, especially as a predictor of our current drug-obsessed culture, where there's even television commercials for depression/anxiety pills. As in the original show, the 5 guys play numerous characters, including females. A few actors and actresses in minor roles are also carried over from the television show (including, yes, Bellini), probably to give that extra feel of connection.

The comedy in Brain Candy comes from the same place it came in the original Kids In The Hall show; in the strange, bizarre, and charming portrayal of oddball people. Outsiders to the KITH style of humor may not find anything very funny here, which is totally understandable, especially since the movie is a bit more subtle than the show ever was. In a few places, they seem to go out on a limb with jokes solely aimed at those used to their style, especially the brief appearance of Bruce McCulloch's "Cancer Boy", which almost immediately got all sorts of complaints, despite being a very darkly funny idea. All that said, though, there is obviously a vein of slight experimentalism here. It's obvious that they only wanted the movie to resemble the show up to a point, but then wanted to do something with a different pace and different kind of humor. There's no jokes designed for applause or mugging for the camera, it's a different kind of effort. So, reactions will be firmly mixed.

Rating for Style: B+
Rating for Substance: B+

 

Image Transfer

 One
Aspect Ratio1.85:1 - Widescreen
Original Aspect Ratioyes
Anamorphicyes


Image Transfer Review: The disc features an impressive transfer that allows for an amazingly sharp and brilliant rendition of the film. The colorful photography really leaps off the screen, and is not accompanied by any significant artifacts or flaws. While the source has one or two minor speckles, this is still a fantastically clean and clear image. The anamorphic enhancement smooths out the picture and adds nice depth without aggravating aliasing problems or jagged scenes.

Image Transfer Grade: A-

 

Audio Transfer

 LanguageRemote Access
DS 2.0English, Frenchyes
Dolby Digital
5.1
Englishyes


Audio Transfer Review: The primary Dolby 5.1 sound mix is very enjoyable, but nothing particularly special. Given that the film is mostly dialogue, there's little use of any major directionality or surround effects. However, the clarity is very high, and you notice the expansive room the track has to move around in, especially with the soundtrack score. The 2.0 Surround track is about the same, but feels a little more tightly packed into front channels.

Audio Transfer Grade: B+

 

Disc Extras

Static menu
Scene Access with 12 cues and remote access
Subtitles/Captions in English with remote access
Packaging: Amaray
Picture Disc
1 Disc
1-Sided disc(s)
Layers: single

Extras Review: There are no additional features to this disc. The presentation is bare-bones, with 12 chapter stops for the film and English subtitles.

Extras Grade: D-

 

Final Comments

Brain Candy is a wonderful dose of bizarre humor, but it's a shame this wasn't transformed in some kind of special edition, even a small one. It cries out for one, so maybe someday we'll see that change. In any case, fans of the television show (which still regularly plays on cable) who've never seen this film should definitely check it out.

 


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