(director/writer: John Waters; cinematographer: David Insley; editor: Janice Hampton; music: Patrick Williams; cast: Johnny Depp (Cry-Baby Walker), Amy Locane (Allison), Susan Tyrrell (Ramona), Polly Bergen (Mrs. Vernon-Williams), Iggy Pop (Belvedere), Ricki Lake (Pepper), Traci Lords (Wanda), Hatchet-Face (Kim McGuire), Mink Stole (Hatchet’s Mother), Darren E. Burrows (Milton), Stephen Mailer (Baldwin), Joey Heatherton (Milton’s Mother), David Nelson (Wanda’s Father), Patty Hearst (Wanda’s Mother), Willem Dafoe (Hateful Guard), Joe Dallesandro (Milton’s Father); Runtime: 90; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producer: Rachel Talalay; Universal Pictures/Amazon; 1990)

“The lite teen comedy was too silly, too mild, and too trivial to make an impact.”

Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz

Director-writer John Waters (“Hairspray”/”Pink Flamingos”) lost his edge in this PG rated minor comedy on juvenile delinquents. It’s a mainstream sitcom film with a tacky story that badly misses Divine (died a few years ago) to stir things up. The musical comedy is about Baltimore teens in revolt, who sing doo-wop and rockabilly.

Cry-Baby is set in a Baltimore High School in 1954 that features class warfare between the trouble-making lower-class leather jacket wearing greasers and the snobby, upscale, clean-cut squares.

The story revolves around the nice teenage girl Allison (Amy Locane) wanting to be bad and pining to go out with Cry-Baby (Johnny Depp), the “Drape” greaser gang leader, who fell in love with her.

The affable leads are easy to take and performances from its large supporting cast is solid. Polly Bergen plays Allison’s square mother, Joe Dallesandro and Joey Heatherton ham it up as a pair of religious extremists, David Nelson and the infamous kidnap victim Patty Hearst offer some laughs as a square couple from the ‘burbs.
But the lite teen comedy was too silly, too mild, and too trivial to make an impact, as it missed Waters’ trademark of being raunchy and of ‘bad taste.’

It played at the Glasgay Film Festival.