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03.08.2001

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flick pick | Cecil B. Demented 2000
Directed + written by: John Waters
Starring: Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Alicia Witt, Adrian Grenier
Language: English
Look for it at the video store under:
comedy
Watch it when youíre in the mood for
something: artsy-fartsy, camp-o-rrific
The verdict: / 5 the rating system explained

Plot synopsis At the Baltimore opening of her new romantic comedy, Hollywood movie star Honey Whitlock is kidnapped at gunpoint by radical indie filmmaker Cecil B. Demented and his film crew gang of teenaged misfits. Cecil informs the spoiled actress that heís written a starring role for her in his new movie, Raving Beauty, a semi-improvisational work that aims to bring down the evil commercial cinema world that Honey represents. Soon Honey finds herself with a bad bleach job and ten pounds of eye makeup, uttering preposterous lines and waving guns in front of real people in real movie theatres and actual film industry gatherings, an unwilling participant in Cecilís guerrilla approach to moviemaking. Itís the performance of a lifetime for Honey, whose new image brings her a renewed celebrity Ė the media canít get enough of her now Ė and a respect from non-mainstream society that turns her into a true cult heroine.

Review Thereís only one word to describe what itís like to watch John Watersí Cecil B. Demented: Wheeeeeeee! Like a rickety roller-coaster ride at a really cheesy theme park, Watersí latest movie is non-stop bad taste at its most gleefully fun. Anyone whoís ever watched the Oscars and been disgusted by some of the crap that reaps awards will appreciate the many pointed jabs at such inexplicable mainstream success stories as Patch Adams ("Patch Adams doesnít deserve a directorís cut!") and Forrest Gump (Cecil and Co. terrorize the set of a dreadful sequel entitled Gump Again, starring Kevin Nealon). Plus thereís the nice touch of giving Patty Hearst a cameo in a movie thatís essentially a riff on her real-life kidnapping. As with all of Watersí work, itís impossible to judge the movie on any of the qualities that one might normally use to gauge the merits of a film. The acting (so deliberately bad that it's very good) consists primarily of lots of yelling and frenetic gestures, thereís not a single character in the film that reads like a "real" person, and the dialogue and plot are similarly over-the-top. Itís all so self-consciously amateurish that you know youíre meant to laugh both at it and with it. Which, really, is the beauty of a John Waters movie: itís calculated camp from a man who both recognizes the tackiness, and absolutely, unabashedly adores it as well.  ó reviewed by Yee-Fan Sun 

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