Chris Cooper (Kevin McDonald) is a shy researcher working for a huge pharmaceutical firm with a team of sympathetic, but unusual personalities. He discovers a substance that makes people (and the company executives) very happy. Promoted as "Gleemonex," the new "brain candy" rapidly begins to make money, and Chris becomes a hero; however, the team soon realize that their wonder drug can render its users comatose.

Their "good" efforts to stop their own creation are opposed by their employer, especially the "bad" chief executive (Mark McKinney) and his cloying "yes-man" (Dave Foley), who relentlessly pursue sales to a craving market. After many tragicomic and slapstick escapades, good mostly prevails in the end.


Not to everyone's taste, this outrageous farce pokes fun at the drug industry, the aspirations of idealistic researchers, and the North American preoccupation with its own undiluted pleasure. Reminding us of Alec Guinness's polyvalent portrayals in "Kind Hearts and Coronets," the irreverent Canadian television troupe of male actors, Kids in the Hall, plays over forty different characters of both sexes and all ages.

Human foibles are spared no mercy, but the travails of an elderly lady and of one of the researchers (both played by Thompson), have an undeniable element of pathos. The team of scientist-employees never wavers in its desire to be helpful; what they accomplish, however, often falls wide of the mark.

Released in the wake of Prozac, this film skirts around deeper issues in health care, especially those that share boundaries with industry and commerce. Its frothy presentation and seemingly simplistic plot caused some of my students to reject its challenge outright; others simply loved it.

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