John Waters has gone soft. At one time he challenged good taste by having a fat transvestite eat dog poo. Now, his idea of "shocking" is having one of his actors use the words "pubic hair" over and over again. Let's face it, once you have somebody eating dog shit in a movie, it's tough to top yourself -- everything after that point is pretty much just a compromised cultural aesthetic and a sell-out to the Man.
I guess I'm supposed to get all hot and bothered by the title, but frankly, the film is so bad that I didn't even think about it. Waters' basic problem is that he's trying too hard to make a social statement. Pecker (Edward Furlong) takes pictures all the time -- of his girlfriend (Christina Ricci), of his shoplifting best friend, Matt (Brendan Sexton III), of his parents (Mary Kay Place, Mark Joy), of everybody. When an art dealer (Lili Taylor) sees his photos, she makes Pecker a New York hit, at the expense of his quaint Baltimore life. Soon, Pecker must decide whether it's more important to be famous or happy.
Waters has a couple of points here. The first is that fame isn't all it's cracked up to be. The second is that the New York art scene is full of nudniks and half-wits. Most people already know both of these things, which kind of makes "Pecker" like sitting through a bad social studies class. The fame of having his photographs shown in New York puts pressure on Pecker as well as his subjects. When he does his show, all the weirdoes who frequent those kinds of art events and use words like "erophantastical" and "seraphic" come out of the woodwork.
Waters doesn't like these people any more than we do, but that he subjects them to mild, lazy ridicule instead of a full-blown, excrement-flinging attack is really a knife to the heart of the dog shit eater in all of us.
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