Cecil B. Demented

Bomb Rating: 

Watching a John Waters film is a lot like watching his own personal parade. They look like lots of fun for the people in them, but if you're standing on the other side of the rope, you're likely only briefly amused by the idea of a 70-foot inflated Underdog (until you give some thought to the resources wasted on creating a 70-foot Underdog). By the time the 80-foot inflated Mighty Mouse comes rolling on by, you realize that parades are really just nightmares come to life.

In "Cecil B. Demented," a radical underground filmmaker named Cecil B. Demented (Stephen Dorff) leads a sort of revolution that involves kidnapping a big star, Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith), and forcing her to act in his movie. This movie is comprised mostly of Cecil, Honey, and the Cecil's cast (Alicia Witt, Adrian Grenier, and some others) running around and attempting to punish commercial cinema. They show up at a movie theater. They show up at a Baltimore fund-raiser. They regard themselves as cinema terrorists.

Either this is Waters' attempt to parody himself, or he has nothing left to say. My guess is the latter. Again, the film seems like it was probably a pretty entertaining time for those involved with it, but after about an hour -- once we're more than clued in on the joke and the self-references -- it seems pathetically redundant.

Exactly how many times do I have to watch the central character shooting the same scene and spewing the same tired rhetoric over and over again? The one good thing I will say about John Waters films is this: They're short. Rarely does one of his films run over 90 minutes. I suspect even he realizes that his ability to make movies is based far more on reputation than on content.

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