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Cecil B. DeMented

Angry auteur takes up arms against the crass sins of commercial movie culture.


John Waters gives Hollywood the finger with this comedy about cinema purist, Cecil B. DeMented, and his band of guerrilla filmmakers who kidnap the industry's hottest leading lady, Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith), during the Baltimore premiere of her latest film, a "life-affirming screwball comedy" called "Some Kind of Happiness." DeMented and the group live Rocky Horror-style in an abandoned warehouse, with plans to save the public from bad movies while shooting their anarchist film. Honey is won over, helping to cause terror at location shoots, including an attack at a multiplex screening of "Patch Adams: The Director's Cut." (Hey, these guys aren't all that bad!)


Griffith either can't get work or has a great sense of humor. Why else would she play this far-out send-up of a Hollywood glamour girl who is all glitz in public, all bitch in private? Cheers to her for taking bold risks and coming out on top. Stephen Dorff is over the top as the title character (even for this film) but still scrapes up laughs with his maniacal rage. Ricki Lake takes a break from her daily TV sleaze, getting back to what she does best. Other Waters regulars, including Mink Stole and Patty Hearst, also return.


Anyone not familiar with the director/screenwriter's work should be cautioned that navigating this Waters could be rough sailing. Some of his films ("Polyester," "Pink Flamingos") would make the cast of "American Pie" blush. His dialogue is stiff and strained, and his actors look like they're stuck in an awkward high school play. That said, "Cecil" is full of hilarious jabs like the showdown with fat, lazy teamsters on the set of the senseless sequel "Gump Again."

Bottom Line

Rough, rusty and tasteless revenge for any movie buff who's felt ripped off at the box office.


Starring Melanie Griffith, Stephen Dorff, Ricki Lake, Patricia Hearst and Mink Stole.

Written and directed by John Waters. Produced by Yves Attal. Released by Artisan Entertainment.