A parody of Jane Austen's novel Emma, about Cher, a popular girl who spends her days playing matchmaker, helping friends with fashion choices, advising the new girl at school on a makeover, and looking for a boyfriend.
Swing and a miss for John Waters. This follow-up to his mildly successful effort "Hairspray" falls flat on it's face. What a waste of a young Johnny Depp's talent! Water's forces his cast to overact to a ridiculous degree for comic camp value, but the effect is more painful than funny. Depp's strength is his natural ability to flow into each character he plays, so the forced camp in this film is all the more tragic. Only in his first two dance numbers does his natural talent shine through, albeit briefly. Although he does not actually sing the songs during the performances, his dancing and movement are as close to natural for him as you will see in this film. No 50's stereotype is overlooked here. This film feels far more like a bad theme-park version of the 1950's, complete with one-dimensional characters and a hackneyed plot. The catchy soundtrack at least makes the film tolerable for a time. Former SLA terrorist Patty Hearst is good for a couple of chuckles in her cameo, as is porn star Traci Lords as her daughter. Ricki Lake, at the zenith of her weight problem, is wasted in a throwaway role. Actually, except for seeing Depp in his pre-megastar days, the entire movie should be thrown away. Thank God it was only an hour and 15 minutes long. It seemed much longer.
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