Picks and Pans Review: Pecker
It isn't quite Woody Allen's love affair with Manhattan, but bad-boy director John Waters's affinity for Baltimore, his hometown and the setting for all his movies, is undeniably special. Pecker, like 1988's Hair spray, is distinguished not only by Waters's usual cheerful vulgarity but by the same warm sense of family and community. Waters likes these people, no matter how tacky, homely or unhygienic. His Baltimore is a nice city.
In Pecker a young photographer (Furlong) becomes famous snapping gritty pictures around town. As long as we're being introduced to Pecker's subjects (including Christina Ricci as a laundress who takes her job very seriously), the movie is charming and funny. Then Pecker is discovered by an art dealer (Taylor) and transformed into a Manhattan gallery star, and the movie slows down and dies. Woody Allen's muse is John Waters's poison. (R)
Bottom Line: An affectionate snapshot that loses focus