John Waters wrote and directed this $6.5 million satire on the Manhattan art world, a rags-to-riches comedy about 18-year-old amateur photographer Pecker (so named because he pecks at his food). Pecker (Edward Furlong) is a blue-collar kid who works in a Baltimore sandwich shop and takes snapshots of family, friends, and customers. His mom, Joyce (Mary Kay Place) runs a thrift shop where she offers fashion advice to the homeless, while sis Tina (Martha Plimpton) recruits go-go boys to dance at the local Fudge Palace. Pecker's younger sister, Little Chrissy (Lauren Hulsey), has a sugar addiction, and his grandmother, Memama (Jean Schertler), the "pit beef" queen of Baltimore, conducts prayer meetings with her talking statue of Mary. After hip Manhattan art dealer Rorey Wheeler (Lili Taylor) becomes fascinated with Pecker's photos, a big exhibition is in the offing, followed by overnight fame as the young man becomes the new darling of the New York art scene. Soon Pecker discovers that fame has its price. Shown at the 1998 Toronto Film Festival. ~ Bhob Stewart, Rovi … More
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Critic Reviews for Pecker
There are many odd treats, like seeing former SLA hostage Patty Hearst dancing on a bar in a low-cut slip and getting a crash course in "tea-baggng."
Pecker is Hairspray with Kodak film stock, or Crybaby without the juvenile delinquency angle
I had a great time. It was like skipping school, stealing some comic books, and reading them behind an old abandoned warehouse.
If the rest of John Waters' Pecker was as funny as its first half-hour is, it might have been one of the all-time greats.
Writer and director John Waters has fashioned a sassy, irreverent movie about art, fame, culture shock, and class consciousness.
...mostly potshots, lightly diverting goofiness with a too-pat happy ending.
light-hearted comedy that could play at multiplexes and will even appear at Blockbuster alongside mainstream comedies
diluted Waters, but there's more than enough disturbing behavior and off-the-wall satire here to shock the faint-of-heart and delight those who enjoy the director's quirky sense of fun.
Toss in running gags about the pubic hair on lesbian strippers, and what could possibly be wrong? In short, the film doesn't have much of a pecker.
The slack comic pacing, uncertain camera angles and simply dead onscreen moments undermine the ebullient party Waters wants to throw.
John Waters' Pecker (conjure up the image!) is a limp effort in search of a Viagra fix. Too bad the main character's name isn't Cigar.
Audience Reviews for Pecker
It's hard to describe director John Waters and his idiosyncratic style but if I had to try, I'd compare him to David Lynch on amphetamine's. He's done some seriously wacky comedies over the years. Some of which been referred to as "deliberate exercises in ultra-bad taste". He had been around since the 1960's before making a name for himself with "Hairspray" in 1988. An early Johnny Depp film - "Cry Baby" followed and then he directed Kathleen Turner in the hilarious "Serial Mom". Those who have heard of him will know what to expect. Those who haven't should be warned; Waters certainly doesn't water down his humour.
A young man named "Pecker" (Edward Furlong) who works at a Baltimore sandwich shop also has a real talent for taking photographs. He's forever snapping things that most people wouldn't even think of. When a New York art dealer (Lili Taylor) sees his work, he becomes an overnight sensation in the art world.
As mentioned, Waters' films are somewhat like the lighter side to the nightmares of Lynch. He has the same off-beat and occasional surreal approach but rather than delve into the darker recesses of the subconscious, he plays it all for laughs. His more recent efforts have not been entirely successful and his brand of uncouth and crass humour will certainly not appeal to everyone but Pecker is one of his most accomplished and audience friendly pieces. Where he excels is in his array of very colourful characters - and this film has plenty of them.
Pecker's family are a real bunch dysfunctional delights; his mother Joyce (Mary Kay Place) likes to accessorise the fashion of homeless people; his father Jimmy (Mark Joy) is an advocate for the public showing of pubic hair being made illegal; his grandmother 'Memama' (Jean Schertler) is a ventriloquist with a statue of the virgin Mary; his younger sister Little Chrissy (Lauren Hulsey) has an addictive personality, that begins with sugar before moving onto Ritalin and snorting vegetables and his older sister Tina (Martha Plimpton) runs a gay bar where "teabagging" (the slapping of testicles on a person's forehead) is a custom that's expected within the establishment. Pecker himself is just a naive, but likeable, photographer who captures all this mayhem on his camera and this is only his family. There are many others, that include his kleptomaniac friend Matt (Brendan Sexton III) and characters that dry hump washing machines on spin cycles. By now, you'll gather that Waters' bad taste is still alive and well but what makes it all the more hysterical is that the actors all play it straight, making the zany situations that befall them all the more entertaining. Waters, most certainly, depicts this Baltimore slice-of-life with real zest and zaniness and, at times, his sheer audacity and outrageousness is gut-wrenchingly funny but while all this is going on, he still manages to take a pop at the pretentious, snooty-nosed, yuppies of the New York art scene.
As a self confessed Waters fan, I greatly enjoyed this lighthearted, quirky gem. It will not be a comedy that will appeal to everyone but if you enjoy your humour a little more on the edgy and surreal side, then this should do nicely.
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