Forget nine lives, these pussycats are livelier than ever 20 years later.
Directed and written by Harry Elfont and Deborah Kaplan, Josie and the Pussycats became one of the early aughts’ biggest box office bombs. Released on April 11, 2001, the movie grossed just $ 14 million and was panned—sometimes savagely so—in almost every review. The experience scarred the directorial duo so much that they never helmed a movie again.
But here’s the thing mostly male film critics failed to realize at the time: Josie and the Pussycats—which starred Rachael Leigh Cook (lead singer Josie), Tara Reid (drummer Melody) and Rosario Dawson (bassist Val)—was supposed to be weird and wacky and wasn’t really meant for them. Alan Cumming and Parker Posey were deliberately and deliciously over-the-top as cackling villains Wyatt and Fiona. DuJour was the perfect satire of the cultural obsession with the cookie-cutter boy bands of the era. The music, as the kids would say, slapped. And, most importantly, it resonated with young girls who watched the movie and would go on to become the movie reviewers.
Over the last two decades, Josie and the Pussycats has become a generation-defining cult classic, simultaneously being ahead of its time with its take on consumerism and the state of pop music and yet a perfect encapsulation of the Y2K era, Carson Daly cameo included.