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In Baltimore, guerrilla filmmaker Cecil B. Demented leads a band of cinema revolutionaries who kidnap Honey Whitlock, a bitchy and aging movie star of big-budget froth. Cecil wants her in his movie, a screed against Hollywood they film during blitzkrieg attacks on a multiplex, a Maryland Film Commission press conference, and the set of a "Forrest Gump" sequel. He insists on celibacy; the cast and crew channel sexual energy into the production. With a family-values coalition, aggrieved Teamsters, and the police on their trail, Cecil needs help from porno, kung-fu, and drive-in audiences. What about Honey? Will she bolt or refuse to act? Or will she hit her marks and light up the screen? Written by
Any film with Alicia Witt and Maggie Gyllenhaal has very good things going for it visually. And although a little weird for mainstream audiences, "Cecil B. DeMented is a very entertaining film. Imagine a spoof about the American film industry and American movie audiences, packaged as a cross between "Dr. Strangelove" and "State and Main".
It is after all a John Waters film, and a film set in his hometown of Baltimore. Which means the jokes will be hit-and-miss, with many best appreciated by film industry insiders and Baltimore natives. But the obvious fun the cast has playing their out-there characters is infectious. Melanie Griffith (Tippi Hedren's daughter) has a ball tweaking her diva image as she plays an aging star gradually won over to the cause of her kidnappers (insert Patti Hearst here who actually has a small part in the picture). Alicia Witt gives her best ever performance as the delectable porn star turned revolutionary. The best scene is when she and her fellow film revolutionaries hide out at a porn theater showing "Rear Entry", an anal epic co-starring Witt and a randy gerbil.
Stephen Dorff, before he went insane and got involved with Pamela (slug) Anderson, does a good job as the title character. But watch closely for an absolutely glowing performance by Gyllenhaal. She is something special with lines like: "I haven't had this much fun since my last livestock mutilation!"
Worth watching if you have a sense of humor, even better if you are demented.
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