A Dirty Shame

‘What’s good about a morning with dildos in it?’ is the simple question at the crux of John Waters’ latest potty-mouthed assault on priggish suburbia. Housewife Sylvia Stickles (Ullmann) is frumpy, irritable and respectably frigid – until a whack on the head renders her nympho. But while Sylvia and daughter Caprice (Blair, sporting ‘criminally enlarged breasts’) join the growing numbers exploring the delights of frottage and sploshing (Google it), her mother (Shepherd) spearheads a campaign on behalf of outraged ‘neuters’ everywhere. Erotomaniac twin to the psychopathic ‘Serial Mom’, this is hardly subtle stuff but it throbs with Waters’ relishable exuberance, effortlessly enlisting us to the perverts’ battle against the frigid, sour-faced Aunt Sallys of the decency brigade – as usual, rebellion against social norms is paired with deep affection for family bonds (even if the outlaw shaggers increasingly resemble a zombie horde). The heightened aesthetic boasts genital shrubbery, CGI critters and David Hasselhoff’s frozen turd, along with split-screen flashbacks, Godard-esque captions and riffs on sexploitation flicks. And the dialogue is wicked – ‘axis of evil’ is only the most telling of Sylvia’s many pet names for her vagina.

Release details

Rated: 18
Release date: Friday April 29 2005
Duration: 89 mins

Cast and crew

Director: John Waters
Cast: Tracey Ullman
Johnny Knoxville
Chris Isaak
Selma Blair
Suzanne Shepherd
Mink Stole
Patricia Hearst
Jackie Hoffman
LiveReviews|0
2 people listening