4 Stars
Year Released: 1998
MPAA Rating: R
Running Time: 87 minutes
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Leave it to John Waters to come up with the funniest sounding title for a movie this year. His latest effort is a very comical rags to riches tale: a young photographer named Pecker (Edward Furlong) delights in taking pictures of the day-to-day life in his suburb of Baltimore. Everybody, from his Laundromat supervising girlfriend (Christina Ricci) to his sugar junkie sister is a potential subject. Pretty soon Pecker’s photos are spotted by a big time New York art dealer (Lili Taylor), who in turn, transforms our young hero into an instant celebrity — “a more humane Diane Arbus,” as one character puts it. However, Pecker begins to discover the fickle and often destructive nature of fame and how it affects those around him. Since Hairspray (1988), Waters has toned down the shocks in favour of more compassionate character studies. Pecker is the culmination of this approach. It is wickedly funny and contains a jolt or two, but nothing on the level of Pink Flamingos (1972). Instead, we get a touching and genuinely amusing look at an eccentric group of characters and their crazy world. For once, we aren’t laughing at them per se, but with them. As a result, you actually care about Pecker and his family and friends. Sure, it’s lighthearted fare, but that doesn’t make it any less of a good film.

Posted on September 28, 1998 in Reviews by

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