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Overall Rating

Worth A Look: 25.68%
Average: 21.62%
Pretty Bad: 16.22%
Total Crap: 4.05%

6 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Cecil B. Demented
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by EricDSnider

"Reject the mainstream? Give us a better alternative, John."
2 stars

John Waters wrote and directed "Cecil B. Demented" as in indictment of Hollywood's watered-down mainstream mentality. Movies are generic and vapid, he says. We should reject them, not embrace them.

Fine, John. You know what? You're right. Most Hollywood films are brain-dead. But you know what else? So is "Cecil B. Demented."

"Demented" is about a group of young renegade filmmakers, led by the title character (Stephen Dorff), who kidnap sappy-film star Honey Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) on the eve of her new premiere, "Some Kind of Happiness."

At gunpoint, they force her to star in their movie, an in-your-face piece about the air-headedness of mainstream movies and why we shouldn't see them.

Cecil and his crew are society's misfits, angry youths and sexually frustrated pessimists. Theirs is a kamikaze mission, particularly after they start sort of accidentally killing people in their quest for artistic integrity.

"Cecil B. Demented" starts well enough, Melanie Griffith playing Honey Whitlock as a foul-mothed prima donna -- a parody of herself, in other words. Interestingly, the moment Honey stops swearing like a sailor and is subdued by her captors, that's when the movie stops being fun.

Waters is so intent on making his point that he KEEPS making it, over and over again, and forgets to include any rising action in the screenplay. OK, it's the next day, and they're shooting more scenes in their movie. OK, it's the next day, and they're still filming. OK, OK, OK.

Waters, of all people, should know that doing a satire does not excuse you from including a storyline. It doesn't have to be believable, but it does have to go somewhere.

The acting is generally atrocious, too. There's broad-parody hamminess, and then there's general incompetence. Except for Dorff and Griffith, this film falls into the latter category.

And is someone really, in the year 2000, doing a "Forrest Gump" parody? Yes. Waters is. "Cecil B. Demented" is, in its own way, as dumb as the Hollywood tripe it's decrying.

link directly to this review at
originally posted: 07/01/03 15:47:36
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User Comments

3/16/11 David McMillan This movie saved my life 5 stars
12/26/09 Chad Dillon Cooper God bless John Waters 5 stars
4/21/09 Vince Decent enough. I'd watch it again. Dorff is very good here 4 stars
3/18/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Demented forever! 4 stars
12/07/07 Adrian Loved it. 5 stars
2/07/07 Glenn Soffen WOW, What happened John? This movie sucks! 1 stars
9/22/04 Anarchist_101 Not really what I'd expected but... Not-FUCKIN'-bad! 4 stars
3/25/04 Lord Haw Haw Worth seeing for the Forrest Gump parody. 3 stars
1/15/04 Betty White Very unique Waters outing with Griffith quite good; not for everyone though. 4 stars
10/16/03 Charles Tatum Ironically, Waters' most mainstream film! 4 stars
7/29/03 Taylor Lindberg God couldn't make a better movie than this. DEMENTED FOREVER! 5 stars
7/23/03 Kath I agree with the review. There's some quality stuff here.. but it's hard to find. 3 stars
7/22/03 Cori sooo effing awesome 5 stars
6/08/03 earl hoffert certainly not the best of waters' efforts, but still better than 'pecker' 3 stars
4/24/03 Dave Good for a dumb comedy. Some great inside film humour. 3 stars
11/12/02 Vicious Toy/Electric Crotch A throwback to Waters's pre-Pink Flamingos films, only with a bigger budget and star names. 4 stars
8/07/02 I Can't Swim Waters has lost his touch. Sad to say but its true. Wanted to shoot Mel 1 stars
6/20/02 zotteLORRE this movie is plain pointless 2 stars
1/24/02 Andrew Carden This Movie Is Demented. It Would Have Been So Much Better, If Waters Hadn't Directed It. 2 stars
1/03/02 Jake This is the most unfunny Waters movie along with Cry-baby. 2 stars
1/02/02 hum good ideas but lazy " hey, same old schtick will do) 2 stars
10/16/01 Sthenno Worst of all Waters' films.Has funny moments but the idea is funnier then the actual film. 2 stars
9/21/01 Paul C. Panko Great use of subtle critisizm 4 stars
7/13/01 Roy Smith It's got Melanie Griffith. And she's good in it! Amazing! 5 stars
6/21/01 Mr. Char Great movie, especially the comment of greenlighting patch adams, that man should die 5 stars
4/15/01 GeorgE McCaul One of the few John Waters movies that I liked, go see it . 5 stars
2/21/01 Rocket Boy Hit-and-miss Waters flick, good idea not used to full potential. 4 stars
1/30/01 jen k 4 stars
1/30/01 Noble Ceverin Moodhe This movie went from zero to twisted in less than six seconds, and then it stayed that way. 4 stars
11/10/00 skye laughed hard. john waters' best (?) 4 stars
9/13/00 PJ This movie was so fucking funny, cool, true, and campy as hell, Griffith trully shines 5 stars
9/09/00 Blubberbot If you like John Waters you'll love this movie. 4 stars
9/07/00 Bill Moore Water's has lost it. "There's a fine line between clever and stupid." 2 stars
9/03/00 Jim McBride His best movie since Hairspray 4 stars
9/02/00 ALIaS An absolute satirocal masterpiece! I didnt stop laughing or thinking the whole time!! 5 stars
8/28/00 Indie It's great because it's so trashy and satirical & John Waters is being tasteless! =^( 1 stars
8/23/00 bart Hysterical parody of Patty Heart story with the real Patty. Melanie - perfect role for her. 5 stars
8/16/00 Heather See this movie or die! Guerilla filmmaking at it's best. 5 stars
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  11-Aug-2000 (R)



Directed by
  John Waters

Written by
  John Waters

  Stephen Dorff
  Melanie Griffith
  Alicia Witt
  Patty Hearst
  Adrian Grenier

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