John Waters is one weird dude. He’s infamous for the pretty heinous film, Pink Flamingos, which if you don’t know, does involve a transvestite eating real dog crap for several minutes. Like, the actor actually ate feces that came out of a dog. But then he’s also known for more family-friendly fare like Hairspray as well as genuinely funny spoofs like Serial Mom and today’s affair: Cry-Baby.
Cry-Baby is basically Grease if Grease knew that it was totally ridiculous. It makes fun of 50s culture, something that a lot of movies do, and in some cases (like Pleasantville) do better. But this is one of the earlier movies that I’ve seen that does this. Whereas Pleasantville has very distinct and frankly poignant messages about racism and sexism, Cry-Baby chooses to go the traditional John Waters route of over-the-top comedy, and here it works really well.
|And a single manly tear rolled d-- what? Oh God!|
Essentially the plot is that a “good” girl falls in love with Cry-Baby, the bad boy greaser played by Johnny Depp. Cry-Baby gets sent to juvie and then must win her back! The story itself is standard, but the way it’s executed is pretty clever – everyone in this universe is totally aware of how ridiculous the movie is and are playing it to the rafters. Everyone, that is, except for Johnny Depp, who gives such a hilariously straight performance that it’s easy to see why he was such a mega star for such a long time.
Depp’s performance combined with the ‘wink, wink, nudge, nudge’ writing makes for an entertaining, if mindless watch.
Also, there’s a character nicknamed “Hatchet-Face” in the movie, and that’s just great.