Retro Review: Cecil B Demented

Take a little Patty Hearst kidnapping story and throw in a renegade posse bent on destroying mainstream Hollywood and you get John Water’s latest comedy farce.

“Cecil B Demented” tells the story of a spoiled Hollywood star named Holly Whitlock (Melanie Griffith) who is ambushed and kidnapped by a group of “cinema” terrorists lead by the film’s title character Cecil B Demented played by Stephen Dorff.

Cecil believes that it’s his life goal to destroy mainstream Hollywood and deliver an “outlaw” film on the subject to the masses.

Believing in his dream he will do whatever is necessary to accomplish this. He has sworn his posse to never have sex until the film is accomplished.

This adds to comic element is that within the posse are two characters who will find just that really hard to do.

One of those characters is a porn starlet named Cherish (played by Alicia Witt) and a sexually confused straight guy who hates that he is straight.

“Cecil B Demented” runs on way to long and spoils the interesting careers of Dorff and Witt.

I loved the shock character played by Witt but that only last a couple minutes.

Griffith is way out of her element here and Dorff is just playing yet another psychotic twenty-something year old.

Don’t get me wrong there are some laughs here and some really bizarre attempts at humor. These elements will keep your attention but for the most part it’s a complete waste of talent.

The best parts of the film are the things Cecil is trying to destroy. I loved the opening credits which were hilarious and I liked the squashing of “Patch Adams: the Director’s Cut” and “Gump Again” but I didn’t find the majority of the plots surrounding the posse very funny.

It’s been a real long time since Waters has been fresh. “Pecker” was easily forgotten and so will “Cecil B Demented”.

(2 out of 5)

So Says the Soothsayer.

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