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In Baltimore, guerrilla filmmaker Cecil B. Demented leads a band of cinema revolutionaries who kidnap Honey Whitlock, a bitchy and aging movie star of big-budget froth. Cecil wants her in his movie, a screed against Hollywood they film during blitzkrieg attacks on a multiplex, a Maryland Film Commission press conference, and the set of a "Forrest Gump" sequel. He insists on celibacy; the cast and crew channel sexual energy into the production. With a family-values coalition, aggrieved Teamsters, and the police on their trail, Cecil needs help from porno, kung-fu, and drive-in audiences. What about Honey? Will she bolt or refuse to act? Or will she hit her marks and light up the screen? Written by
A wildly satirical look at mainstream and underground cinema
I haven't seen enough John Waters movies to make a comparison to this one, so I can't tell if this was his most impressive work or not. But impressive, it is. I can see that Waters has a keen eye for satire. He does a fine job at mocking both underground and mainstream cinema, without being too exaggerated. He never goes over the top. Some of the scenes may be a little less than satisfying, the comedy may sag at times and there are very few actual "laugh out loud" gags--but at least Waters doesn't overdo the comedy to the point where it's sickening. Sure, he has a quirky sense of style that doesn't have a worldwide appeal. There is a scene in the movie involving a porn star and a gerbil (use your imagination). However, what Waters has is edge with taste. None of this mindless, gross-out crap we often spot in recent years; his stuff has intelligence.
What's great about this movie is its sense of irony. Stephen Dorff is perfectly cast as the emotionless, soul-less cult director Cecil B. Demented. The great thing about his performance--and Waters mentions this too--is he blurts out the most blatant, silly ideas and he totally plays it straight. He's serious about his cinematic deeds, no matter how far-fetched and stupid they sound. The movie is full of quirky characters. One quote that I will always remember is by Adrian Greenier, who plays the bong-toking crew member, when he's talking to Melanie Griffith's character. He offers her a hit from his crackpipe. She refuses, and he tells her, "I used to have all sorts of problems. Now it's just drugs. It's given my life a real focus!"
The climax is pretty...well...snappy. Unique but snappy. And I think Waters could've come up with something better. I don't know what, I just felt it was missing something.
"Cecil B. Demented" is wild, original and often funny. And after seeing this movie, I'm anxious to check out Waters' earlier work. On the DVD, there is a pretty good commentary by the director. He rambles on at times, but it's often pretty insightful. It's also interesting to find out "There is no extra in a John Waters movie." He incorporates the same cast members into every one of his movies.
My score: 7 (out of 10)
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