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Pecker (1998)



Average Rating: 4.3/10
Critic Reviews: 7
Fresh: 1 | Rotten: 6

No consensus yet.



liked it
Average Rating: 3.2/5
User Ratings: 15,609

My Rating

Movie Info

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


Drama, Comedy

John Waters

Feb 23, 1999

Fine Line Features

Watch It Now



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All Critics (63) | Top Critics (14) | Fresh (23) | Rotten (21) | DVD (15)

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."

November 26, 2009 Full Review Source:

Pecker is Hairspray with Kodak film stock, or Crybaby without the juvenile delinquency angle

August 22, 2005 Full Review Source: DVD Verdict
DVD Verdict

A transparent, laugh-free parable about Waters' own rise to fame.

May 4, 2005 Full Review Source: Lessons of Darkness
Lessons of Darkness

Lacks an edge.

February 1, 2004 Full Review Source: Ozus' World Movie Reviews
Ozus' World Movie Reviews

I had a great time. It was like skipping school, stealing some comic books, and reading them behind an old abandoned warehouse.

April 10, 2003 Full Review Source: Combustible Celluloid
Combustible Celluloid

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.

November 13, 2002 Full Review Source:

Writer and director John Waters has fashioned a sassy, irreverent movie about art, fame, culture shock, and class consciousness.

March 3, 2002 Full Review Source: Spirituality and Practice
Spirituality and Practice

...mostly potshots, lightly diverting goofiness with a too-pat happy ending.

June 2, 2001
Movie Metropolis

light-hearted comedy that could play at multiplexes and will even appear at Blockbuster alongside mainstream comedies

April 17, 2001 Full Review Source: Old School Reviews
Old School Reviews

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Kalamazoo Gazette
Kalamazoo Gazette

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

The slack comic pacing, uncertain camera angles and simply dead onscreen moments undermine the ebullient party Waters wants to throw.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Film Journal International
Film Journal International

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.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source: Nitrate Online
Nitrate Online

The movie is fast and warmly generous towards just about everyone on the screen.

January 1, 2000 Full Review Source:

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.
February 23, 2013

Super Reviewer

John Waters could made Pecker a better film that is. But still been a fun entertaining.
May 22, 2011
Lucas Martins

Super Reviewer

A John Waters tongue in cheek story of finding happiness at home. Campy and fun.
December 22, 2010

Super Reviewer

He never realized how far 35 millimeters would take him.
December 15, 2009
Wahida K

Super Reviewer

There are no approved quotes yet for this movie.

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