A Dirty Shame

Now that the barrier for the NC-17 rating is gone, leave it to John Waters to come out with is own NC-17 rated film. A Dirty Shame is everything one would expect from somebody like Waters. Surprisingly, it is pretty tame. Much of what is responsible for the rating is all talk, and there is a minimum amount of nudity. Even more surprising is how juvenile everything. The overarching feel of A Dirty Shame is that some junior high boys are having fun reading everything single fetish available to man. The basic premise is that sex-crazed maniacs are taking over a small town. The concept tires itself out pretty quickly, and all that's left is more of the aforementioned listing of various ways to get off.

The sex addicts, led by Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville, Walking Tall, Grand Theft Parsons), are awaiting a new, messianic sex addict who will show them the newest position. One becomes an addict when subjected accidentally to blunt trauma to the head. Ray-Ray and company think that Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman, Small Time Crooks, Panic), may be this person. She was a 'neuter,' a sexually repressed person, until she was hit in the head in a car accident. Now, she's "got the itch" and is horny as hell. Her husband (Chris Isaak, Blue Ridge Fall, That Thing You Do!) is initially pleased, but Sylvia's antics become too much for him. Her daughter Caprice (Selma Blair, Hellboy, A Guy Thing), loves it. She is another addict, with grotesque surgically enhanced bosoms. She was previously locked in room to prevent her from getting around with people, but now Sylvia and Caprice and wreak havoc upon the town.

Waters (Cecil B. Demented, Pecker) seems to be having fun. A Dirty Shame is outrageous, but in a way that is almost quaint and outdated. In fact, much of the antics here are almost cute. Maybe this says something about what a lot of the crap that fills screens today, but Waters is trying to shock people who see much worse. Now, this is a Waters film, so one would expect it to be funny, but it never really reaches that point. It's surprisingly dull. The titanic clash between the sex addicts and the neuters plays out with a B-movie sensibility, which, again is what Waters wants, but it not too engaging for viewers.

The running joke in A Dirty Shame is that everybody is fighting for control of Sylvia. They keep trying to hit her over the head to bring her to their side. It seems a bit too slapstick, even for Waters. A full on war erupts between the forces of morality and depravity, and everybody goes out of control. The most interesting aspect of the movie is Blair's fake breasts. They are seriously misproportioned for humorous effect, and are obviously fake, but look real enough to make some people wonder. The impressive aspect about these prosthetics is that they hold up surprisingly well even when Blair is running around town and jumping on tables.

Mongoose Rates It: Pretty Bad.
1 hour, 29 minutes, Rated NC-17 for pervasive sexual content.

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