For a certain segment of the population John Waters is king. His films are so bizarre, so unlike anything else that they simply must be seen to be believed. Pink Flamingos is still shocking even in an age where pie fucking and semen hair gel are considered common place. On the other hand even my Mom loves Hairspray, and trust me that's one hell of a range.
Unfortunately his last few films haven't been that great. Oh don't get me wrong, Cecil B. Demented and Pecker weren't bad per se, but they just didn't have that special Water's somethin. That thing of singing assholes, 400 pound transvestites, three-ways involving chickens, and diet pills that are wearing off.
So A Dirty Shame is a welcome return to form. It might not be top tier Water's, but it is more than worthy of the man that had a 400 pound transvestite shout "Filth is my politics" and then eat shit like the she/he really meant it.
The plot of A Dirty Shame is merely a skeleton for Waters to hang his grotesqueries on, but for the sake of form here it is. Tracey Ullman plays a bored sexless housewife who suffers a head injury and suddenly gets the urge to pick up water bottles with her vagina. She joins a sex cult of people who have also become sex addicts after head traumas and discovers the serpent tongued Johnny Knoxville might be Christ, and she might be the 13th apostle, and her daughter is going under the earned name of Udders. They wage a holy war against "The Neuters" a group of moral majority right wingers who hate sex, and try to show that God wants everybody to have really really great orgasms, or something.
As I said the plot is about as important as.... well it's actually tough to find a metaphor for how unimportant the plot is. But as the Coens once said "Wallace Beary, wrestling, what more do you need?"
Anyway like the best Water's films A Dirty Shame is nearly impossible to review. Most of the time a meaningless plot, characters who are nothing more then sketches, and bizarre grotesqueries are negatives, but in the case of a Waters film these things are a boon. On the other hand, it's more or less impossible to describe what makes this film so engrossing. I can tell you about how monstrously huge Selma Blairís boobs are, or describe the various perversions on display, but is really something you've gotta see for yourself.
To be quite frank you already know if this is the film for you. The very name Waters already told you that. To say that his films are an acquired taste is putting it extremely lightly, and chances are you already know if you have it or not. This freak show certainly isn't going to change your mind. If the idea of the Jackass guy as Jesus, Selma Blair as a stripper named Udders, and water bottles to the vagina makes you smile, well then there you go. If you are in the other 90% of the population, well brother the exit is that way. For my fellow freaks, the high priest of trash is back, enjoy the sermon.
Reviewed By: Bryce Wilson
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