John Waters' mischievous satire of the teen exploitation genre is entertaining as a rude joyride through another era, full of great clothes and hairdos.

John Waters’ mischievous satire of the teen exploitation genre is entertaining as a rude joyride through another era, full of great clothes and hairdos.

Set on Waters’ Baltimore turf, Cry-Baby returns to the nascent days of rock ‘n’ roll when teens were king, where the cleancut ‘squares’ are pitted against the hoodlum ‘drapes’. Cry-Baby (Johnny Depp), a handsome delinquent with a perpetual tear in his eye (in memory of his criminal parents who died in the electric chair), takes the bait from a pony-tailed blonde from the well-bred set (Amy Locane).

Once it’s clear the plot is just a raucous rebel without a cause with a handful of inspired elements clipped to a wornout Romeo and Juliet storyline, a lot of the foolery begins to wear thin. There’s so much commotion in the pic, with its 11 full-fledged dance numbers and elaborate production values, that one can’t help but catch on that a story’s missing.

Depp is great as the delinquent juve, delivering the melodramatic lines with straight-faced conviction and putting some Elvis-like snap and wiggle into his moves.

Cry-Baby

Production

Imagine. Director John Waters; Producer Rachel Talalay; Screenplay John Waters; Camera David Insley; Editor Janice Hampton; Music Patrick Williams;; Art Director Vincent Peranio

Crew

(Color) Available on VHS, DVD. Extract of a review from 1990. Running time: 85 MIN.

With

Johnny Depp Amy Locane Susan Tyrrell Polly Bergen Iggy Pop Ricki Lake
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