When a dangerously dreamy delinquent from the wrong side of the tracks sets his sights on a squeaky clean teen queen from the country club set, you can bet there’s going to be a whole lot of trouble (and singing!) in John Waters’ quirky spoof of ‘50s Teens Gone Wild flicks. For Cry-Baby, Waters followed up his breakthrough success with Hairspray by traveling even further back in kitsch history, to the glorious early 1950s, and cooking up a subversively campy homage to Rebel Without a Cause, Elvis rock-and-roll musicals and Romeo and Juliet (only with leather jackets and bullet bras). Set in good old Baltimore circa 1954, at the birth of rock & roll, this candy-colored comedy stars Johnny Depp (in his first non-TV starring role) as Wade “Cry-Baby” Walker.
“An energetic and hyperactively hormonal romp through ’50s kitsch from trash-master John Waters. It’s his finest film to date.” – Time Out Film Guide
Poor Cry-Baby is a bad boy juvenile delinquent with a heart of gold and a permanent tear slithering down his cheek, a reminder of his state-executed parents. In the depths of his despair appears goody-goody girl Allison (Amy Locane), who has a steamy and forbidden crush on Cry-Baby. But Allison’s super uptight boyfriend, Baldwin (leader of a gang of bowtie-wearing preppies known as “The Squares”), is dead set against Cry-Baby and the rest of his juvenile delinquent pals (Pepper, Wanda, Milton and Hatchet Face, affectionately referred to as “The Drapes”) and leads a revolt against them, causing a chain reaction of chicken races, lunch hour rumbles, reform school lockdowns and rocking musical numbers. Will true love conquer all for Cry-Baby and Allison? A bit like Grease on acid, Cry-Baby is a real boss trip, daddy-o, featuring a truly demented supporting cast including ex-porn star Traci Lords, rocker Iggy Pop, cult film staple Susan Tyrell, Warhol superstar Joe Dallesandro and notorious ‘70s kidnapped heiress Patricia Hearst. (Dir. by John Waters, 1990, USA, 85 mins., Rated PG-13)