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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 Susan Granger
3½ stars out of 4

John Waters may be an acquired taste but his "Serial Mom" (1994) with Kathleen Turner still ranks as one of the funniest films I've seen. His latest black comedy satirizes a photographer's rise to fame and fortune, contrasting sleazy, blue-collar Baltimore with the sleek, sophisticated Manhattan art world. Edward Furlong stars as Pecker, named for his childhood habit of "pecking" at his food. He's an unassuming 18 year-old who works in a sandwich shop when he's not taking pictures of his loving but bizarre family. By chance, his weird, grainy, often out-of-focus pictures are "discovered" by a New York dealer, Lili Taylor, who declares him a genius. There's a hilarious scene at his art opening in Chelsea, where the uninhibited Baltimoreans - like his obnoxious, candy-chomping six year-old sister and his grandmother who sells pit beef and totes around a Virgin Mary statue that says, "Full of grace" - mix with the brittle New Yorkers, including Patty Hearst as a wealthy art patron who gets drunk in a bar and dances around with the strippers. Eventually, Pecker discovers the cost of celebrity and instant over-exposure and must choose between his old, familiar world and the new horizons opening to him. In the title role, Furlong is goofy and engaging, while Christina Ricci is bewildered as his girl-friend who takes her work at the Spin 'n' Grin Laundromat more seriously than his photographs, perceiving, "You see art when there's nothing there." And Martha Plimpton scores as his older sister who works at a gay male strip bar. On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Pecker" is a hip, irreverent, hilarious 8. It's gleeful, outrageous good fun!

Copyright 1998 Susan Granger

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