Cry-Baby

"Very Good"

Cry-Baby Review


John Waters first went mainstream with the 1988 classic Hairspray and then defied midnight-movie fans who complained he'd gone all lame and mainstream by daring to follow it up with a full-on musical comedy. Set in late-'50s Baltimore, Cry-Baby is his delightful tribute to Elvis, juvenile delinquency, and rockabilly music. How can you resist Johnny Depp twitching and crooning like The King?

On the right side of the tracks lives the virginal Allison (Amy Locane), all blond hair and crinoline skirts. Her grandmother, Mrs. Vernon-Williams, runs a charm school and is the local dictator of good taste and deportment. Her idea of fun is to host talent shows where "square" teens sing "Mr. Sandman" in barbershop harmony.

On the wrong side of the tracks lives Cry-Baby Walker (Depp), the delinquent orphan son of the executed Alphabet Killer. His gang includes his hugely pregnant sister Pepper (who already has two kids), her boyfriend Milton (Darren E. Burrows), their friend Hatchet-Face (Kim McGuire, perhaps the ugliest woman you've ever seen on film, and I say that with admiration), and sexpot Wanda (Traci Lords). They all hang out down at Turkey Point, a woodland camp run by Grandma and Grandpa (Susan Tyrrell and Iggy Pop). This crowd, known as "drapes" in the local vernacular, likes to drink, party, and drive fast cars. Cry-Baby fronts a band in which all his buddies are members. Traci Lords plays the triangle.

The battle lines are clear: when Cry-Baby meets Allison and uses his dangerous charm and leather-wrapped sex appeal to steal her away from her very square boyfriend, it's going to be Drapes vs. Squares in a fight to the finish, and with the formidable Mrs. Vernon-Williams leading the Square attack, it's going to be tough fight.

Allison loves hanging with the Drapes, but she has a lot to learn. Pepper calls her a "scrape," part square and part drape, and informs her that "The first thing a Cry-Baby girl learns is that our bosoms are our weapons." Pepper also has to fend off the horny Lenora, who's always had a crush on Cry-Baby. "My brother wouldn't touch your titties with a ten-foot pole! He likes his women bad, Lenora, not cheap." Ouch.

As Cry-Baby and Allison fall deeper in love, their romance is accompanied by a winning soundtrack, a mix of Elvis-like rockabilly -- Depp can really sing -- and retro '50s fun, including a madly joyous Bunny Hop down a suburban street. When Cry-Baby is jailed on trumped-up charges, he gets to sing the obligatory jailhouse production number ("Please Mr. Jailer") before he's finally released back into the arms of his true love.

Waters also takes time to introduce us to the parents of many of these troubled teens by staging a courthouse scene in which he presents a kitschy parade of B-list weirdos including Troy Donahue, Patty Hearst, Joe Dellasandro, Joey Heatherton, and David Nelson. This is one of the reasons to see any Waters flick: you just never know who's going to show up.

Everyone is clearly having a ball in Cry-Baby, and one can only imagine what the nightlife was like on the set, what with Johnny Depp and Iggy Pop hanging around with Traci Lords and a gaggle of swimsuit-clad teens jitterbugging over by the bourbon still. The good vibe is infectious. Cry-Baby is the most fun you can have in the Maryland woods (unless you enjoy hunting for the Blair Witch).

Stop the bawlin'.



Cry-Baby

Facts and Figures

Run time: 85 mins

In Theaters: Friday 6th April 1990

Box Office Worldwide: $8.3M

Budget: $12M

Distributed by: Universal Pictures

Production compaines: Universal Pictures, Imagine Entertainment

Reviews

Contactmusic.com: 3.5 / 5

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%
Fresh: 31 Rotten: 9

IMDB: 6.5 / 10

Cast & Crew

Director:

Producer:

Starring: as Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, as Allison Vernon-Williams, as Mrs. Vernon-Williams, as Ramona Rickettes, as Wanda Woodward, as Hateful Guard at Maryland Training School for Boys, as Pepper Walker, as Belvedere Rickettes, as Hatchet's Mother

Contactmusic


Links



Advertisement

New Movies

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

Lady Macbeth Movie Review

A seriously impressive feature directing debut with a star-making central performance, this period British drama...

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 Movie Review

It was never going to be easy to match the impact of 2014's Guardians of...

The Promise Movie Review

The Promise Movie Review

The director of Hotel Rwanda, Terry George, turns to another humanitarian horror: the systematic murder...

Their Finest Movie Review

Their Finest Movie Review

Skilfully written, directed and acted, this offbeat British period film tells a story that catches...

Unforgettable Movie Review

Unforgettable Movie Review

With heavy echoes of trashy thrillers like Fatal Attraction, this movie overcomes its painfully simplistic...

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The Belko Experiment Movie Review

The kill-or-die scenario that this movie hinges on isn't something new; it's been used in...

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

The Fate of the Furious Movie Review

With the more dumbed-down title Fast & Furious 8 outside of North America, this overcrowded...

Advertisement
A Quiet Passion Movie Review

A Quiet Passion Movie Review

British writer-director Terence Davies (The Deep Blue Sea) is an expert at digging beneath the...

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

The Sense of an Ending Movie Review

Julian Barnes' Booker Prize-winning novel is adapted into a remarkably intelligent, gently involving film anchored...

The Boss Baby Movie Review

The Boss Baby Movie Review

There isn't a lot of subtlety in this madcap animated comedy, which is more aimed...

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

City of Tiny Lights Movie Review

After the latest incarnation of Dredd, director Pete Travis shifts gears drastically for this complex...

Going in Style Movie Review

Going in Style Movie Review

This is only technically a remake of the iconic 1979 film starring movie icons George...

Graduation Movie Review

Graduation Movie Review

Romanian filmmaker Cristian Mungiu (4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days) recounts another staggeringly detailed...

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

Ghost in the Shell Movie Review

This sci-fi thriller is so visually stunning that it deserves to be mentioned in the...

Advertisement
Artists
Actors
    Filmmakers
      Artists
      Bands
        Musicians
          Artists
          Celebrities
             
              Artists
              Interviews
                musicians & bands in the news
                  actors & filmmakers in the news
                    celebrities in the news

                      Go Back in Time using our News archive to see what happened on a particular day in the past.