Brain Candy review by The Grim Ringler

I can’t say I was ever a huge Kids in the Hall fan. I didn’t dislike them, but then I didn’t really freak out for them either. They had some really funny sketches on their sketch comedy show and they had some duds, like every other of that ilk since the beginning. But back when they were in their hey-day I was dating a girl who was obsessed with them so I got to see more than my fair share of their show and slowly developed an appreciation for their brand of madness. And I remember very well how excited the fans, scant though they were, of the comedy troupe were when news of Brain Candy got out. Sadly the movie didn’t make much of a wave in its theatrical release but it has since slowly developed into a cult classic of sorts and on seeing it recently I finally had a good enough understanding and appreciation of the Kids to give them a fair shake.

The trouble begins during a board meeting for a giant medical conglomerate made famous because of a pill the company released which had become an over the counter phenomenon. But the company has hit hard times and needs another hit drug to release to consumers, something catchy, something pretty, and something that they can convince people that they need. Desperate for something, anything that will grab consumer interest and buoy the company until the next new product, a call is sent out to all research departments and any and every pharmaceutical the company is working on is ordered to give a synopsis to the board on what their project is and what the company has to gain by manufacturing it. None of the products in development have anything new or reasonable to offer and things are looking bleak. Bleak that is until a young scientist is forced, against his better judgment, to reveal his product, a pill a person suffering from depression can take and which will take all bad feelings away and will replace them with the happiest memory of that person’s life. It’s perfect, a dream come true for the company. And the scientist, initially worried over the lack of drug testing the new product has gone through is quickly sold on the idea of taking his ‘baby’ to market as it becomes either that or he’ll lose his research completely. The drug is an over-night success, the people who have taken it happier than they have ever been in their lives, and in no time the company is outselling every other pharmaceutical drug that is on the market and the young scientist who had had the initial idea for the drug has become an overnight celebrity. Indeed he even begins living the life of a rock star, appearing on talk shows, going to gala parties, and ending up in bed with exotic mystery women. What he has forgotten though are his friends, the people who helped him get to where he was with their research help on the product. But as it turns out, he was right to be concerned with the drug’s safety as it turns out that people who have taken it are becoming ‘stuck’ in their happiest moment, the pill short circuiting their normal functioning and making its users into nothing more than catatonics. Horrified, the scientist returns to his friends and begs their help to stop the company from continuing to sell such a dangerous product. Naturally the company, which is doing better than it ever has, refuses to allow this and spins the side-effect as a rare but oddly positive problem, and the press eats it up. The scientist refuses to give up though and it becomes a matter of wills as he and the company owner face off over the fate of this dangerous drug and its users.

Created as a very strange commentary on America’s growing obsession with prescription medication and the idea that there is now a pill for everything, this is one of those films that has sadly become all the more chilling and true with the passage of time. And as such, this film is a very eerie – if funny – look at America’s fear of everything it cannot control – feelings especially. The film is awfully damn clever and the very premise and its handling, as I said, were well ahead of their time. The biggest issue I have though is that the jokes are really hit or miss and things become so over-the-top that it’s hard to really hold the film upright. It devolves into a series of gags that push the story forward instead of the story pushing the gags, and it just doesn’t work very well. The acting is very well done and the Kids themselves should be nothing but proud of this film as they play a predominance of the parts here and give things a very silly, surreal feel. The direction is also ably handled and while it never gets in the way of the comedy, it doesn’t let the comedy do the job on its own. And in the end, the film just isn’t that compelling. Funny, yes? In fact at times it is VERY funny, but the end result leaves something to be desired. A very fun, if flawed film though it’s a must for fans of the Kids In The Hall.


7 out of 10 Jackasses
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