Cecil B. Demented
In this standard-issue John Waters comedy, Stephen Dorff stars in the title role, the obsessed leader of a band of teenaged "outlaw cinema" terrorists willing to live and die by Demented's idealism and anti-Hollywood guerilla filmmaking. Crowning himself the "enemy of family cinema" and the "ultimate auteur," Demented sets out to prove that nothing not the Establishment, the law, random fatalities, the enforced celibacy of his merry band, or in one scene even the laws of physics will stop him from completing his "ultimate reality" project, a violence-packed cinema verité thriller called Raving Beauty. To achieve his vision, he coordinates the kidnapping of Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith), our easiest stereotype of a waning Tinseltown A-list star: haughty, coarse, self-absorbed, bitchy to the hilt, and pleasant only when "on." Demented forces her to star in their no-budget production. Predictably yet still inexplicably, Whitlock ends up sympathizing with their outlaw cause, becoming one of them and achieving a type of fame her agent never had in mind. Along the way, Waters lampoons mainstream cinema, the cult of celebrity, the forced-conformity Hollywood machine that spoons out treacly crapfilms such as Patch Adams and Forrest Gump, and the presumed self-indulgence of the indie filmmaking scene itself. All are easy targets, making this excursion frequently labored and self-righteous.
Artisan's DVD release sports an anamorphic widescreen transfer and Dolby Digital 5.1 audio. A genial Waters provides the commentary track (he seemed to be having a good time in the making of it). Also included are Comedy Central's Canned Ham behind-the-scenes special, theatrical trailers, cast and crew info, and production notes. Keep-case.
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