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Site created 12/15/97.

review added: 7/26/02

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy
1996 (2002) - Paramount

review by Greg Suarez of The Digital Bits

Enhanced for 16x9 TVs

Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy Film Rating: C+

Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras): B+/B+/F

Specs and Features

88 mins, R, letterboxed widescreen (1.85:1), 16x9 enhanced, single-sided, single-layered, Amaray keep case packaging, film-themed menu screens, scene access (12 chapters), languages: English (DD 5.1 & 2.0) and French (DD 2.0), subtitles: English, Closed Captioned

Mother: "Hi, kids. Where's your father?"

Daughter: "He's upstairs masturbating to gay porn."

Mother: "Again?"

For those of us who remember staying up late to watch the Kids in the Hall on HBO over a decade ago (cue the jangly guitar intro), the mere thought of owning the troupe's only film, Brain Candy, on DVD will surely excite. If you share my disgust for all things politically correct, then you need check out this film. I mean, how many other comedies out there feature a wheelchair-bound, bald character named Cancer Boy?

Dave Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson are the Kids, and perform almost every role in the film - from grizzly east European cab drivers, to little old grandmas. Don Roritor, the sleazy head honcho of the Roritor Pharmaceutical Company, is looking to produce the next big thing in the world of drugs (note that Mark McKinney plays this part in what seems to be a scathingly hilarious homage to this film's and Saturday Night Live's producer Lorne Michaels). Trusting, naïve company scientist Dr. Cooper has just invented Gleemonex, a drug that cures depression. However, the drug is still experimental and not ready for the masses. Nonetheless, Roritor goes ahead with the drug, and Gleemonex soon becomes an international sensation. But when Gleemonex begins causing serious side effects in its users, Dr. Cooper must overcome the greedy Roritor and his cadre of cronies to stop the drug and find a cure.

While the Kids in the Hall are sometimes referred to as "the Canadian Monty Python," I agree to only a certain extent. Both troupes' style of comedy is very obscure and catered to a very niche segment of the population. But generally, Python's comedy is better realized and, in turn, more easily digested by the mainstream. This is probably why Brain Candy has pretty much been relegated to cult status in comedy film circles.

Brain Candy is a funny film to be sure, but funnier is the free-form spontaneity of the Kids' TV work. This is a loose film; it feels disjointed, almost as if a series of slightly related sketches were whittled together in attempts to form a narrative. But this shouldn't be too surprising. It's a film based on sketch comedy and produced by Lorne Michaels. One can pretty much attach this generalization to any of the Michaels-produced SNL sketches-turned-feature-film examples from the last decade. Still, with the sole exception of the first Wayne's World, the Kids in the Hall are able to better their peers with Brain Candy, because the uniqueness and sheer ballsiness the troupe possesses is superior to that of its sketch comedy siblings.

On DVD, Brain Candy looks pretty good considering its low-budget roots. The 1.85:1 anamorphic widescreen transfer is generally free of distracting blemishes and boasts a nicely saturated color palette. The overall image is on the dark side and fine detail suffers somewhat as a result. The Dolby Digital 5.1 audio is nicely spacious when necessary, but more dialog heavy moments collapse entirely to the center channel. The film's score and songs are nicely produced and employ the entire surround sound system for added impact. The disc contains no extra features, so if you're a big Kids in the Hall fan, it looks like you'll have to grab that bottle of Gleemonex to cheer you up.

Brain Candy is a hard film to recommend to everybody, since the Kids' humor is definitely an acquired taste. But if you're unfamiliar with the Kids in the Hall, and are in a decidedly non-politically correct mood, this should be the next comedy you rent. Grab a slice of happiness pie and sit back for a twisted evening with the Kids in the Hall!

Greg Suarez
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