Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy (1996)


Canada. 1996.


Director – Kelly Makin, Screenplay – Norm Hiscock, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney & Scott Thompson, Producer – Lorne Michaels, Photography – David A. Makin, Music – Craig Northey, Music Supervisor – G. Marq Roswell, Visual Effects – John Gajdecki Ltd Visual Effects (Supervisor – Jon Campfens), Special Effects – Performance Solutions, Production Design – Gregory P. Keen. Production Company – Paramount/Lakeshore Entertainment


Kevin McDonald (Dr Chris Cooper/Chris’s Dad/Doreen/Lacey), Mark McKinney (Don Roriter/Simon/Cabbie/Gunther/Cop#1/Nina Bedford/Melanie/Drill Sergeant/White Trash Woman), David Foley (Marv/Psychiatrist/New Guy/Raymond), Bruce McCulloch (Alice/Cisco/Grivo/Worm Pill Scientist/Cop #2/Cancer Boy/White Trash Man), Scott Thompson (Mrs Hurdicure/Wally/Baxter/Male 4/The Queen/Big Stummies Scientist/Malek/Raj/Clemptor)


At Roritor Pharmaceuticals, research scientist Chris Cooper comes up with a drug that makes depressed people happy by finding their most joyful memory and allowing them to preserve the feelings. The company president Don Roritor is making cuts so Chris says that the drug is ready to go out without it having been properly tested. It is marketed as Gleemonex and proves a great success when Roritor gets approval to sell it across the counter. However, as everybody, not just depressed people, begin taking Gleemonex, Chris discovers that it also leaving people in a coma.

The Kids in the Hall were a popular Canadian comedy troupe. Comprising of David Foley, Bruce McCulloch, Kevin McDonald, Mark McKinney and Scott Thompson, the group formed in Toronto in 1984, performing stand-up theatre. After work on Saturday Night Live, the Kids were offered their own series, The Kids in the Hall (1988-95), which was a popular hit on Canadian airwaves, less so outside of the country. The group went various ways after that, occasionally reforming to tour. Most of the others have made minor appearances in films and tv, McCulloch has become a film director, most notably with Stealing Harvard (2002). The only one who went onto anything of any note was David Foley who was most notable for his ongoing role in the sitcom News Radio (1995-9). The Kids only other film outing was The Kids in the Hall: Same Guys, New Dresses (2001), a filmed version of their stand-up act, while the group later reformed for the eight-episode mini-series The Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town (2010).

The Kids in the Hall: Brain Candy is exactly what one supposes you get when a comedy troupe has a budget thrown at it – and from the look of it a quite reasonable one too. There is no real plot to the film, just a series of loosely interconnecting skits, most of which have been contrived to allow the various members of the group to play multiple roles (some new to the film, some originating from the tv series). All that this ends up with is a good deal of running around in drag and people doing things in silly voices. You can admire the impressions but there is surprisingly little to the film that seems funny. Mostly, there is a forcedness to the proceedings. Some of the humour ventures into areas of questionable taste – a character called Cancer Boy and a lot of embarrassed gay humour. Example of the film’s at times staggeringly unfunny wit – a platoon leader orders a bare-butted officer to go and deal with the enemy: “Here’s what we do – you go over there and fuck them and we’ll stay here and masturbate.”

The central idea of a happiness pill was first used in What’s So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968). One can also spot up-and-coming Canadian actress Nicole de Boer, from Cube (1997), tv’s Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-9) and The Dead Zone (2001-2), in a small part as a rock concert groupie.

Full film available online here:-

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