Winning Girls Through Psychic Mind Control

Lurking behind a title that suggests lowest-common-denominator sex-comedy hijinks lies a clever, offbeat and consistently surprising dark comedy about two musicians, four alien jammers and a psychic conductor. But back to the jammers and the conductor in a minute. Uptight, straight-arrow keyboard player/vocalist Devon (Bronson Pinchot) and laid-back, pot-smoking,...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Lurking behind a title that suggests lowest-common-denominator sex-comedy hijinks lies a clever, offbeat and consistently surprising dark comedy about two musicians, four alien jammers and a psychic conductor. But back to the jammers and the conductor in a minute. Uptight, straight-arrow keyboard player/vocalist Devon (Bronson Pinchot) and laid-back, pot-smoking, womanizing drummer Sam (Ruben Santiago-Hudson) are, in the words of their own agent (Christopher Murney), the last of the lounge lizards. They've spent 25 years touring hotel bars, weddings and old-age homes as The Devon Sharpe Duo, pounding out medleys of pop standards and even before Devon's girlfriend, singer Kathy (Amy Carlson), decamped abruptly for nursing school, the glamour of show business was wearing seriously thin. Then Sam gives a listen to a goofy novelty audiotape called "Winning Girls Through Psychic Mind Control" — not that he has any problems attracting the ladies, but a little edge never hurt anyone — and finds that he's opened the doors of his unconscious to a quartet of disembodies nosey parkers from some parallel universe. Devon not unreasonably assumes Sam has developed multiple-personality disorder, but gradually realizes something extraordinary is going on. The Jammers, as Sam somehow knows they're called, start by messing with the act — and truth be told, their impromptu mid-performance fusion of "It Was a Very Good Year" and "The World Is a Ghetto" is a scorcher. Then Devon discovers that the jammers can read minds and, with the help of another entity, the "conductor," who channels and focuses the jammers' energies, they can hijack Sam's vocal cords and share what they know. Devon reworks their tired old musical act into a lucrative mind-reading routine that comes with its own prickly quandary — not everyone wants his or her real innermost thoughts broadcast to the world at large. Clever though the premise is, the film's real strength is the smooth banter between Sam and Devon; it's never less than smart, often startlingly perceptive and always thoroughly convincing — Pinchot and Santiago-Hudson nail the rhythms of friends who've logged so much time in each other's company that they're totally in sync even when they're arguing. And just when you think you have the story all figured out, it zips off in a new and unexpected direction Movies whose budgets exceed the GNP of Third World nations can't break free of tired old formulas, so this low-budget labor of love that succeeds is nothing short of a small marvel.

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  • Released: 2005
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Lurking behind a title that suggests lowest-common-denominator sex-comedy hijinks lies a clever, offbeat and consistently surprising dark comedy about two musicians, four alien jammers and a psychic conductor. But back to the jammers and the conductor in a… (more)

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