Cry-Baby is director John Waters’ answer to the success of Hairspray. Turns out going a more family friendly route was a good idea. Cry-Baby is somewhere in the middle with a mostly tame PG-13 rating. It’s probably the only other John Waters movie I’m willing to see. The only disgusting part is a particularly graphic french kissing session. Cry-Baby is just as campy as Hairspray with another Baltimore set story taking place in a bygone era. Except this time it’s the counterculture from the 1950’s. Cry-Baby is a post-Grease musical love story between a juvenile delinquent and a good girl.
“Cry-Baby” Walker is a sensitive “drape” who charms girls with a single tear. Allison is a “square” yearning to shed her perfect image. They’re a passionate couple who turn the whole town upside down. Amy Locane is hot, but it’s Johnny Depp who embraced his heartthrob status before going the opposite route with Edward Scissorhands released the same year. The rest of the motley cast is full of John Waters mainstays like Ricki Lake, counterculture icons like Iggy Pop, controversial former pornstar Traci Lords, and even a cameo from Willem Dafoe.
All of the “drapes” standout, but it’s the aptly named Hatchet-Face who makes the strongest impression. Newcomer Kim McGuire fills the role that Divine would’ve had had he not passed away. Cry-Baby is a strange film that ends up being funny, because it takes itself so seriously. The 50’s inspired songs are so good that they inspired another musical adaptation. Cry-Baby is a cult hit for those weird enough to understand it.