a critiQal film review Cecil B. Demented (2000)

  • DVD
  • Vudu

Plot: An independent director (Dorff) and his band of cohorts - The Sprocket Holes - kidnap A-list movie star Honey Whitlock (Griffith) and force her to make their movie. The film is made by going into reality, wreaking havoc, and filming it. Taking a cue from Patty Hearst, they make Honey get involved in terrorist activities in order to film the movie. Will she escape, or will this film be the death of her?

330 words (Est. Reading Time 1m 39s)
  • ...a bit fun, a bit odd and a bit just plain weird.

I’d never really heard about Cecil B. Demented before. I’d seen it floating around the video store, but never really taken notice of it. A friend ended up renting it, so I figured I’d give it a shot. It did star an odd combination of Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff, directed by John Waters (Hairspray, Cry-Baby), so it sounded like it could be fun.

What an odd cast! Cecil B. Demented has Melanie Griffith, Ricki Lake, Patty Hearst, Kevin Nealon and Stephen Dorff! How much odder can you get? They all seemed to take a step out of the ordinary for this film (with the exception of Ricki Lake), and the cast seemed to shine in this totally off-the-wall comedy. Melanie Griffith and Stephen Dorff especially seemed to really leap into their odd roles, and really shined.

The plot was vaguely reminiscent of the whole Patty Hearst fiasco. Since she plays a part in Cecil B. Demented, it adds to the whole atmosphere of the film, the kind of laughing at yourself theme that shows throughout the film. While some of the scenes were rather odd (at one point they invade a porn theater, with customers), all in all it came out as just really original and a bit odd. The film was a huge cheese-fest occasionally, but it definitely tried coming up with different ideas.

The special effects, mostly involving stunts and gunshots, were shown pretty decently, without detract from the B-movie aura this film tried to stay with. They weren’t great, just decent. One scene involved someone’s hair on fire, and even that came off pretty well.

Cecil B. Demented’s title helps explain a bit about the film itself. It’s a bit demented, and wildly original. Melanie Griffith breaks away from her usual typecast roles and showcases a whole new side of her acting.

It’s a bit fun, a bit odd, and a bit just plain weird. Demented is right.

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