in the Hall: Brain Candy
(2002) - Paramount
by Greg Suarez of The Digital Bits
Disc Ratings (Video/Audio/Extras):
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,
"Hi, kids. Where's your father?"
Daughter: "He's upstairs masturbating to gay porn."
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!