Cry-Baby John Waters

The last time I saw this movie was 1990 with an audience full of teenage girls who moaned and gurgled every time Johnny Depp had a close-up. Fifteen years later, John Waters's '50s musical has finally made it to DVD, with additional footage but no new reason to see it without those girls. Depp is Wade "Cry-Baby" Walker, the leather-jacketed king of Baltimore's "drapes" who's locked in mortal combat with the squares who keep him from latently delinquent Allison (Amy Locane). But despite an obvious amount of enthusiasm, a crate load of hipster references and a whacked-out cast with everyone from Iggy Pop and Susan Tyrell to Troy Donahue and David Nelson there's no getting around the fact that Waters without obscenity is a lovable eccentric with shaky directing skills. Despite nailing the milieu, he's a bear for comic timing, all over the place in terms of mood and eminently capable of flubbing every single musical number he tosses on deck. You can hear the master cracking up at his own jokes, and with a sharper director they might actually be funny, but though you can see what he was up to he simply doesn't have the skills here to translate his ideas into shooting and editing magic. Watching it on DVD is like watching The Rocky Horror Picture Show alone: you know you should like it more than you do but you really miss whatever audience participation ought to be attached. Extras include an astoundingly in-depth "making of" featurette that covers the production soup to nuts, a spirited director's commentary that's more fun than the movie, and a deleted scenes reel that peaks with a nudie-cutie photo session. (Universal)