Cecil B. DeMented goes behind the scenes with a group of obsessed cinema terrorists whose goal in life is to avenge the crass sins of commercial movie culture through acts of brazen filmmaking and vigilante outlaw cinema retribution. As the movie begins, the title character and his "Sprocket Holes" gang kidnap Honey Whitlock, a beloved Hollywood movie star visiting Baltimore for the premiere of her latest blockbuster. Once Whitlock is their prisoner, DeMented and his horny, tattooed crew immediately go into production on Raving Beauty, the ultimate underground movie in which Whitlock is forced to play the insane owner of a failed art theatre. Armed with lights, cameras, heavy artillery and courage to burn, DeMented and his guerrilla production team wreak havoc on the Baltimore film scene, hitting targets from the Maryland Film Commission to penetrating the high-security set of a major big-budget sequel.
John Waters's comedy portrays the ultimate cult director (Stephen Dorff) as a punk madman, part Charles Manson, part Andy Warhol, leading a band of freaky ''cinema terrorists'' in blows against the Hollywood empire. When they kidnap a spoiled star (Melanie Griffith) and force her, Symbionese Liberation Army style, to commit terrorist acts that become their movie in progress, she gleefully takes to her new role. The targets range from Pauly Shore to ''Patch Adams'' to ''Forrest Gump.'' Although smart and funny, the movie lacks the maniacal edge of Mr. Waters's most memorable work. a5a; Stephen Holden
2000-08-11 | Stephen Holden | Read the New York Times Review of Cecil B. Demented