Combustible Celluloid
Stream it:
Download at i-tunes iTunes
Own it:
Get the Poster
Search for streaming:
NetflixHuluGoogle PlayGooglePlayCan I
With: Johnny Depp, Amy Locane, Susan Tyrrell, Polly Bergen, Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake, Traci Lords, Kim McGuire, Darren E. Burrows, Stephen Mailer, Kim Webb, Alan J. Wendl, Troy Donahue, Mink Stole, Joe Dallesandro, Willem Dafoe
Written by: John Waters
Directed by: John Waters
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Running Time: 92
Date: 04/06/1990

Cry-Baby (1990)

3 1/2 Stars (out of 4)

Tears and Loathing

By Jeffrey M. Anderson

This was the movie that convinced me, after months of ridiculing him for "21 Jump Street," that Johnny Depp could actually act. Depp stars as the title role in John Waters' ode to the 1950s, a leather-jacket wearing rebel who sings rock 'n' roll and sheds a single tear from time to time. A member of the "drapes," a group of social outcasts, he falls in love with a member of the "squares," cute Allison (Amy Locane).

That's pretty much the entire plot, with the squares trying to prevent the lovers getting together. A great cast of misfits rounds things out: Traci Lords in her first non-porn role, Susan Tyrell (an Oscar nominee for Fat City), Iggy Pop, Ricki Lake (also in Hairspray), Polly Bergen, and small roles for Patty Hearst and Mink Stole. Willem Dafoe has one scene as a sadistic prison guard. (Sadly, Divine passed away two years earlier.)

Cry-Baby has plenty of Waters touches, such as bizarre musical numbers, slimy making-out sequences and one character drinking a glass of tears. Working with the biggest budget of his entire career and mainstream producers like Brian Grazer and Jim Abrahams, Waters somehow does not let anything detract from his usual vision. Pink Flamingos fans will find Cry-Baby decidedly tame, but it's one of my favorites.

New Line long ago released all the John Waters films to DVD, but this was the one lone hold-out, stuck in the Universal vaults. In 2005 Universal has made up for it by allowing Waters to piece together a longer director's cut with about four new minutes of footage inserted back into the film. The disc also comes with Waters' usual brilliant commentary track, a feature-length making-of documentary and some disgusting deleted scenes (including a sequence that parodies Traci Lords' porno career).

Movies Unlimtied