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Brain Candy (1996)
Rated R

Starring: Scott Thompson, Bruce McCulloch, and David Foley

Rating:
***1/2
out of
*****

For those who don't know, The Kids in the Hall are an extremely weird, off-the-wall and hilarious comedy troupe somewhat in the vein of Monty Python. They're Canadian, however, so their humor is not quite as hard to swallow (or "get") as some people find Monty Python's.

Brain Candy is a perfect introduction to their type of humor. The plot -- and this is a movie by a sketch troupe with an actual plot, which earns it a star automatically -- follows the course of a drug called Gleemonex, which eliminates depression in those who take it by allowing them to find their happiest moment in life and magnify it -- blocking out the depression.

The drug is in the testing stage and not yet ready for the market. However, the president of Roritor Pharmecuticals deems the drug's immediate release a necessity to save his company from losing market share to penicillin. The drug is therefore unleashed onto the public without the company, its creator, or anyone else, having any idea what the side effects could be.

The movie follows Dr. Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald), the creator of the drug, as he becomes rich on the success of the drug through to his eventual realization of the drug's power over him and its users. We also see how the drug changes the lives of a homosexual-in-denial (Scott Thompson), a forgotten grandma (Scott Thompson in one of his many drag roles) and a Danzig-like rock star (Bruce McCulloch) among others.

Sounds pretty serious, huh? Well, it's not the slightest bit serious. With dialogue that includes lines like "The nipples of Mother Hope have run dry," there's no mistaking this movie for a drama. Kevin McDonald is hilarious in the pivotal role of Dr. Cooper. The Kids, who are all male, play all the main roles -- male and female. Scott Thompson's portrayal of Mrs. Hurdicure, the neglected grandma, is actually kind of moving and tragic. Bruce McCulloch plays Cancer Boy, Cisco the rock star, and Alice, Dr. Cooper's would-be girlfriend, all with expert timing and pinache.

It's hard to describe this movie in much detail without giving away crucial bits of the funniest stuff. So, I won't. I will say that there are few, if any, slow parts to the movie and the fact that it has a plot keeps it from careening out of control. Its humor may not be for everyone, but I think that's what keeps it from being as lame as something like Bean.

Trivia: Kids in the Hall member David Foley can be seen in the NBC sitcom, Newsradio. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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