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movie reviewmovie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Pecker

Starring: Edward Furlong, Christina Ricci
Director: John Waters
Rated: R
RunTime: 87 Minutes
Release Date: September 1998
Genre: Comedy

*Also starring: Mary Kay Place, Brendan Sexton III, Martha Plimpton, Mink Stole, Lili Taylor, Bess Armstrong, Patricia Hearst, Mary Vivian Pearce

Review by Jerry Saravia
No Rating Supplied

There are always films that you are better off renting on video than seeing at a theater. "Pink Flamingos" is one of those films that I wish I had seen in a theater - it's designed for the midnight movie circuit. "Pecker" is one of those films designed for the Staten Island trash circuit. It is not meant to be seen in any cinematic form. It is so thoroughly revolting and unfunny that I have to hold my breath to remind myself that director John Waters made it.

Revolting may not be the best term to use for "Pecker," since John Waters used to be the king of bad taste (hence "Pink Flamingos"). I am more astonished by how putrid the writing and directing are in "Pecker" - it has no redeeming value whatsoever.

This trash concerns a kid named Pecker (Edward Furlong), who works at a sandwich store in the run-down section of Baltimore. He constantly snaps photos of everything he sees, including steaks; his girlfriend's breasts; his sugar freak sister; a group of men "teabagging" customers at a local club; his best friend (Brendan Sexton III) posing before shoplifting from supermarkets; his grandmother's Virgin Mary statue, and on and on...But is any of this funny or remotely engaging? No.

Before you know it, Pecker is discovered by a New York art dealer (Lili Taylor) and becomes a media sensation, as does his whole family. He appears on the cover of Vogue magazine, invites comparison to Diane Arbus, and attracts the attention of the famous photographer Cindy Sherman! But this story of how fame and fortune can be more damaging than staying true to yourself is a theme that has been done to death, and Waters does nothing to keep it new, fresh or interesting.

The actors are embarrassingly bland and uninvolving, including the always sprightly Lili Taylor. Furlong exudes little charisma or depth, and Christina Ricci as Pecker's girlfriend - an expert on stains - is needlessly over-the-top and unintelligible at times. The only actor that delivers an ounce of wit is Waters regular Mink Stole, as a voting booth attendant - she makes the screen sparkle for the few seconds she appears.

"Pecker" is brainless, unrewarding junk that will make you wince at how shockingly bad it is. Almost every scene is flatly staged and acted. Along with "Cry-Baby," this is Waters at the extreme bottom-of-the-barrel level.

Copyright 1998 Jerry Saravia

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