Lame John Waters flick trying to homage the 50s with Waters’ trademark sarcasm, falling miserably flat. As the titular “Cry Baby,” Johnny Depp turns in another one of those pre-Scissorhands performances where he’s just trying so dern hard to convince you he’s above this cookie cutter trash, which kind of sinks him below it. Everyone else in the film is relatively on board with Waters kitchy tone, including Ricki Lake and Traci Lords as two of Cry Baby’s groupies and Iggy Pop as his gramps, but to no avail; aside from some killer song and dance numbers, the movie follows the convention of this type of film too closely to be anything special. But alas, that’s probably the point.
I’m not crazy about Waters in general, but his film after this, Serial Mom, is my favorite of his. In that, he perfects his blend of suburban conformity with bizarro freakishness and debauchery, but here, he stays too close to the sincerity to really hit the mark.