When prissy, prickly Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman) suffers a head injury during a traffic altercation, she's, er, revived by self-appointed sexual missionary Ray-Ray Perkins (Johnny Knoxville) and is transformed into an insatiable, take-no-prisoners sex maniac. Yes, it's a John Waters film. Yes, it's filthy. No, it's not as hilarious and sustained as you'd like it to be. It works for a while, though: Ullman, never a stingy comedienne, does everything Waters dares her to do without hesitation; words cannot describe the perversely sporting delight with which she mounts a water bottle during a round of "The Hokey Pokey" at an old folks' home. And there's some fun to be had when Sylvia's emancipation leads her Baltimore 'burb to new heights of ecstasy, freeing her large-breasted daughter Caprice (Selma Blair) while horrifying husband Vaughn (Chris Isaak) and her hardline mother Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd, hysterical) in the process. It's also packed with the standard cameos, the most satisfying of which is good old Patty Hearst at a Sex Addicts Anonymous encounter. But, for all the nasty, necessary glee, the movie feels inescapably been-there-done-that, and you can't help but wish this was 1972 and Divine was on hand to prowl for dog droppings. The most shocking thing about A Dirty Shame
is how desperate and tiresome its anarchy becomes. --Steve Wiecking, Amazon.com
Over-the-top comedy starring Tracey Ullman as Sylvia Stickles, a wife and mother living in Baltimore who, along with her husband Vaughn (Chris Isaak) and mother Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd), operates a local convenience store. One day, Sylvia receives a sharp blow to the head, which leaves her with a concussion. However, the concussion comes with an unexpected side effect - Sylvia has suddenly become a sex addict, and is soon attended to by the perverse and lascivious sexual evangelist Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville). When it becomes evident that Vaughn can't keep up with her sensual appetites, Sylvia throws herself into the strange netherworld of Baltimore's community of erotic overachievers, which includes her daughter Caprice (Selma Blair), who is living a double life as uber-buxom exotic entertainer Ursula Udders.