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Cecil B. DeMented (2000)

DVD Cover (Artisan)
Director:
John Waters John Waters
Starring:
Melanie Griffith Melanie Griffith
Stephen Dorff Stephen Dorff
Alicia Witt Alicia Witt
Adrian Grenier Adrian Grenier
Lawrence Gilliard Jr. Lawrence Gilliard Jr.

6.2 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Genres: Comedy, Media Satire, Showbiz Comedy
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: January 12, 2007
John Waters' world has been a little dry as of late. Waters' was at the top of his game in the late-eighties, early-nineties with films like "Cry Baby" and "Serial Mom". With the release of "Pecker" and "Cecil B. DeMented", it was clear his stock was on the decline. "A Dirty Shame" has once again propelled him back where he belongs, but "Cecil B. DeMented" is the reason we're here. I know what Waters' was going for, and seeing how he is one of all-time favorite directors - I can certainly appreciate it, though I think it failed miserably. Waters' brand of 'shock humor', of which he is the self-professed master, takes a backseat here to the story devices and the performances, and that is where the problems arise most visibly. "Cecil B. DeMented" is just not that good.

The plot is simple: a group of rag-tag filmmakers kidnap a popular actress and force her to star in their motion picture. Stephen Dorff stars as the leader of the rebel insurgency, and Melanie Griffith as the beautiful actress. Seeing Melanie Griffith as an A-list actress is almost too funny to not give the film a positive review, but I just can't do it in good conscience. Waters' vets like Patty Hearst, Mink Stole and Ricki Lake pop up here and there and add that sense of 'familiarity', as they do with all of Waters' films, but not even they could save this picture. Stephen Dorff is much too over the top with his performance (and, yes, I know this is a John Waters' picture), and Melanie Griffith is just about as awful as you can get without being Mariah Carey in "Glitter". Adrian Grenier and Maggie Gyllenhaal are rather funny in their supporting roles, but they did it for the experience.

Alas, if you're a hard core John Waters fan, you might like it. I am a hard core John Waters fan and I didn't, but no two apples cut the same way. Compared to "Serial Mom" and "Hairspray" and "Cry Baby", this film doesn't even come close to half as good. But, I did enjoy it more than "Pecker". I guess it just depends on what kind of John Waters film you like the best - whether you go for the classic Waters shock humor, of the classic Waters storytelling. Make up your own mind. For me, "Cecil B. DeMented" was one of his least accessible pictures, and also one of the worst. 4/10.
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Cryptorchild #1: Cryptorchild - added 01/12/2007, 05:39 PM
What?! I fuckin love this movie. I think you're focusing too much on the director and his style more than the movie itself. Fuck this review, Cecil B. Demented is a dark comedy about independent filmmakers making their mark on the mainstream cinema. Stephen Dorff is fantastic as is the rest of his film crew. This is is awesome. Rent it/buy it, see for yourself.
bluemeanie #2: bluemeanie - added 01/12/2007, 08:01 PM
No need to buy or rent it...I saw it in theatres and then once again on cable...didn't get any better. I am also an independent filmmaker, and that certainly doesn't make me like it any better. I didn't say it was terrible. But, it's not great John Waters, or great...period.
QuietMan #3: QuietMan - added 01/21/2007, 11:06 AM
I agree with Cryptor, I love this movie and just about everyone I got to watch it love it too
grain of sand #4: grain of sand - added 01/22/2007, 10:22 PM
this movie was interesting, and kept my attention, but it wasn't something I'd watch twice or reccomend
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