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IN SHORT: Sweet and funny.
Somehow, I don't suspect that John Waters would like to see any of his films categorized as "sweet and funny," but that's what his Pecker is. . .
Two... three... four...
It would be sad to think that the funniest bit in John Water's latest flick is the title, but his usual skewering of societal quirks and foibles comes up a couple of shades short of razor sharp. The target is the New York art community, which most New Yorkers hold in high contempt just as a matter of course. The joy, as is usually the case in Waters' flicks, is that the characters in the movie are, shall we say, unique, and all are obsessed with what they do.
Pecker is the story of an Catholic Baltimore family. Dad (Mark Joy) runs a blue collar bar, losing business to the topless (and bottomless) joint across the street. Mom (Mary Kay Place) runs a thrift shop catering to the homeless. Grandmother Memama (Jean Schertler) uses a statue of the Virgin Mary as a ventriloquist dummy. Older sis Tina (Martha Plimpton) is the bartender at a gay strip bar. Younger sis Chrissy (Lauren Hulsey) is a sugar junkie and 18 year old Pecker (Edward Furlong) -- nicknamed after his eating style -- takes pictures of lower middle class around him and the sandwich shop he works in. Supporting characters include the love of Pecker's life, Shelley (Christina Ricci) who runs a laundromat and his best friend Matt (Brendan Sexton III), a thief.
One day a big shot New York art dealer (Lili Taylor) wanders into an impromptu showing of Pecker's work. Instantly his life changes, as his out of focus pictures of pubic hair bring $1300 a pop in the artsy fartsy gallery. But fame ruins his, his family and his friend's lives. Pecker determines that New York is bad and Baltimore is good. He returns to his roots to make all the haughty city folk come begging like the fools that they are.
Maybe John Waters is mellowing as he gets older. As a straight (so to speak) comedy, Pecker has more than its share of laughs. It also manages to employ lots of actors that don't seem to get much work elsewhere (Mary Kay Place and Bess Armstrong) and that's a good thing.
Sorry. That's a feeble and cruel attempt at a joke, which is what I expect from a John Waters movie. Sue me, I'm old. Pecker's a flat out comedy hoot. Jokes about a lesbian strippers and a gay practice called "teabagging" may be shocking in the heartland, but are merely amusing to a city boy like Cranky. It's not nearly as shocking as material in Waters' earlier works. Expect nothing when you walk in, or turn it on, and exit with a smile.
On average, a first run movie ticket will run you Eight Bucks. Were Cranky able to set his own price to Pecker, he would have paid . . .
date flick. More suitable to Pay per view level.
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