Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy

The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy screens at Toronto Underground Cinema on Sunday December 5th at 9:30pm as part of our Good Canadian Cinema? film series.

The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy by guest blogger Heather Bellingham

Everyone feels sad every once in a while. Why them do we feel like we are supposed to be happy all of the time? Why do we choose to get rid of this basic human emotion through the use of drugs? And why do we celebrate the fact that we can do that? These are the questions addressed in the 1996 film The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy.



The film is about a scientist, Chris Cooper (played by Kevin McDonald) who invents a super-drug to cure depression, called GLeeMONEX. Despite going though very little testing, the drug is rushed into production to help the financially ailing Roroitor Pharmaeceuticals boost their business. The drug becomes popular immediately and hurls Chris into instant celebrity. However, the drug begins putting people into comas, trapping the users in their happiest memory, which they repeat over and over again.

Despite being a comedy, the film has a rather depressing ending, with Chris and his fellow scientists going into hiding to find a cure for happiness, while the people in happiness comas are glorified and celebrated by society.

Anyone who has seen The Kids in the Hall television show would not be surprised at all to see each member of the troupe play multiple roles (although, Dave Foley has significantly fewer roles than the rest of the guys, as he had begun filming NewsRadio at the time and was largely absent from the writing process). Loyal viewers of the TV would also spot well-loved characters such as the cops and the white trash couple, as well as a brief appearance from Bellini, a silent man in a towel.

There are some entertaining and bizarre musical numbers as well, such as "I'm Gay", which turns from a confession to a man's family into a mini-parade down the block, and "Happiness Pie", a new style of music coming from hard-rocker Grivo (Bruce McCulloch), after he takes the drug.

The film caused a small amount of controversy upon release, as it features a character names Cancer Boy (again, played by McCulloch) who has a positive demeanor despite being very sick, and ends up releasing a single entitled "Whistle When You're Low". Some viewed this as being in poor taste, others (like myself) saw this as typical for The Kids in the Hall - an attempt to make you laugh at things you shouldn't be laughing at.

As a hardcore Kids in the Hall fan, Brain Candy is a film that is very funny and very quotable ("It was only a couple of flipper babies" being a personal favourite). It's also a film with a message - despite what you're told, you are not supposed to be happy all the time. You are supposed to be sad. Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy is an absolute must-see.

Heather Bellingham has written for various websites, such as Helium and Demand Studios, since 2009. Currently she is becoming over-educated in film, books, and theatre and she will finish her BA in April. Follow her on twitter: http://twitter.com/bluealbow4eva

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