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3.7 out of 5 stars21
3.7 out of 5 stars
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on 20 December 2006
Ok - so this is typical John Waters circa 1975 had he won the (then) equivalent of the lottery. Bigger budget version of "Polyester" complete with all the usual JW trappings (late 1950's - early 1960's songs, unlikely castings etc.) Storyline a little weak and distinct lack of iconic lines, but some worthwhile cinema moments (Tracey Ullman dancing under newly-acquired sexual prowerness in old folks home is excellent ) - I am sorely missing a cameo by the late-Divine and the late (r) Cookie Mueller would have been superbly cast as Ray Ray's PR, but a decent array of modern-day "also-rans'" make for an appropriate JW movie. I will watch this again and again and it is well worth adding to your collection if you are that way inclined. My only other gripe is that Chris Isaac fails to get his kit off but perhaps the budget didn't stretch that far !
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on 9 March 2011
This film is gleefully naughty, and pleasantly warped, reflecting its director, John Waters. Unlike some of Waters' early films, the acting is consistently good, and in places brilliant. Tracey Ullman is fine as the central character, but Suzanne Shepherd's performance was worth the price of the DVD, and more. The handbag scene had me laughing helplessly, as tears streamed down my face. I'm even laughing as I type this. It deserves 5 stars for the acting, the laughter it causes, and the delightfully warped quality at its heart.
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TOP 1000 REVIEWERon 25 December 2015
In this 2004 satirical sex comedy, due to freak accidents people are becoming sex addicts, each with their own perversion dividing Harford Road into two camps; the perverts and neuters -the puritanical residents who despise anything even remotely carnal. Sexually repressed Sylvia Stickles will not have sex with husband Vaughan and keeps her over endowed promiscuous daughter, Caprice, locked in her room under legal house arrest. But when Sylvia suffers a freak accident, sexual healer Ray-Ray Perkins converts her into a sex addict, just as Big Ethel launches a campaign to restore decency to the town, but who will win?
This sounds like hilarious fun, but somehow it’s just a single theme dragged out to boredom and only the acting by Ullman and other characters, accompanied by some great 50’s-60’s tracks saves it from being dire. There are a few good gags and the squirrels are great, you’ll probably learn a few technical terms for varying fetishes, there’s even a cameo by ‘the Hoff’, but it’s not enough.
The single disc loads to a main menu offering play, select a scene, set up [5.1/2.0, English subtitles on/off] and special features [commentaries, all the dirt, deleted scene and trailer]. With some full frontal nudity, swearing and frank discussion this is an 18 rating but if you’re looking for a sex extravaganza look elsewhere, the perversions include tyre licking, dressing in baby clothes and such like, but many scenes challenge what’s ‘decent’ and will upset many people. I wasn’t offended by this, just disappointed. As late night fun after a few drinks it’ll make a poor *** but otherwise avoid.
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on 1 September 2014
When the trailer describes a movie as shocking, twisted and depraved you know it's got to be a John Waters film! His latest in a long list of alternative cinema offerings is a real dig at American morality at a time when the USA was going through a particularly Christian fundamentalist period. A Dirty Shame (2004) is a return to the vulgarity of his earlier movies being both subversive and outrageous, described as a sex education film where none of the fetishes on show are made up, it works on the pretext that someone somewhere is performing a so called unnatural sexual act as you read this!

It starts sedately enough in a middle class area of Baltimore, rows of lovely houses with immaculate gardens and white picket fences; young innocent children play on well-manicured lawns. But inside the houses reside their repressed mummies and daddy's. That is until they get a bump on the head, meet Ray Ray and turn into sex addicts. This is what happened to Sylvia Stickles (Tracy Ullman), she hated not only the psychical act of sex but also the very idea of coupling with another human being; leading her husband Vaughn (Chris Isaak) to masturbate in the loo to sex magazine’s to release the poor man’s frustrations! But then she is involved in an accident that involves head injury. Through this incident she meets mechanic Ray Ray Perkins (Johnny Knoxville) and joins him at his garage where she discovers she is not along in her newly discovered sexual urges.

In this flaming cauldron of hidden lust Waters uses hypersexual activities as a metaphor for religious worship where a garage mechanic is treated as a sexual saint, the saviour of the puritanical residents of Hartford Road, their conversion brought on by an accidental bump on the head. This sexploitation movie is more a sly grin rather than being outright funny. Although it’s great to see the John Waters of old on display but I don’t think it will ever become the cult classic that Pink Flamingos (1972) become. The ‘extra’ on the DVD, All The Dirt… is in fact far funnier than the actual feature and informs us that John Waters is to Baltimore what Ingmar Bergman is to Sweden and that if he had not become a filmmaker he would probable have become a mass murderer!
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on 17 July 2010
John Waters came to fame (or is that notoriety) as a terrorist film-maker, making the 'big time' with his offbeat study of sixties Baltimore - Hairspray. There is always a particular feel to his films but they have softened since those early days. This film recalls that sense of the renegade. In Europe people will see this as an outrageous but very funny romp, and a clear swipe at Bible Belt America's moral dogmatism. To homely Americans it must have been a complete travesty.
The film wastes no time in drawing you into the indivuals and the subject matter in JW's offbeat, almost cuddly approach. Once you've seen Selma Blair's unfeasibly large breasts the film has you in it's grip. A few minutes on and you have been introduced to many strange deviations that normally stay hidden behind closed doors. Then the head banging begins (and I mean that in the literal sense). Every time a head is hit we are treated to a montage of clips from those odd little back street films the States made so many of. They are a delight, along with the film score, all taken from the same period. The film then continues to gather pace getting ever more surreal and funny until it's very American ending. The final shot leaves you thinking 'I don't believe he had the gall to put that in'.
Belief is stretched to breaking point; it abounds with sexual references, inuendos and euphemisms that are an education, but however far out it gets the comedy holds you. And all that with nothing more explicit than a few brief nude shots, tame compared with most modern romances.
Certainly not one for prudes or those with a traditional outlook on life. But if you like the unusual and films that push the boundaries then I highly recommend it. Everyone I know (bar one) who has seen this considers it the funniest film they have seen in many years.
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on 4 February 2015
no spoilers

arrived promptly - no damages - well packed - as described - no hassles - would recommend

Ok its john waters - what does that really mean? perhaps I don't get jw but this seemed like a one trick pony. one joke spread sooooo thinly as to become almost annoying - get on with already.

the premise is that in a typical Baltimore town people who accidentally get knocked on the head and get a concussion become 'liberated'. Another knock they get back to 'normal' - no limit its a switch. Thus we have the two opposing factions.

oh the mayhem that ensues.... NO. (its hard to put facetiousness in to words). what ensues is a series of gags. Nothing tooo distasteful and most alternative kinks were given a nod.

the thing I cant work out - because I'm not smart or liberal enough I guess - is who were meant to be in the right and who in the wrong? I'm only guessing that its the ones who seeming triumph in the end.

There is a large quantity of extras mostly due to two commentaries on the entire film.

all in all I cant help feeling there should have been more to the film. yes it JW getting back not entirely to his roots but closer. It does have the 'feel' of a JW film, but it seems less soul satisfying.

ACID TEST: would I buy again/recommend - not really
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on 25 August 2010
Whilst I found this movie to some extent enjoyable and I bust a little chuckle now and again, here John came a long way from pulling off, I mean pulling this movie off... Ultimately, the big concept that the film is built around - that people who get hit on the head become sex addicts - doesn't hold together and what plot there is seems to dissolve about half way through into something incoherent. What you are left with is a bunch of skits filled with references to unusual sexual practices done in a way that will still allow it to be shown at your local multiplex cinema. Its also let down by its casting, not by the Walters' regulars who deliver the expected on cue but by the b-list celebrities who blunder their way through this movie.

I ummed and ahhed over whether to give this 2 or 3 stars, it gets 3 stars because the documentary with John and characters explaining the feature is much more satisfying.
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on 25 January 2011
A Dirty Shame starts of like it could be somthing great in a tasteless kind of way but by the time your half way thorough it you will no doubt have the feeling that someone has repeated a joke to you over and over again.
I would say stick to John Waters ealyer work.
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on 18 July 2010
I'm a big fan of John Waters, but this really isn't up to his past efforts. 'A Dirty Shame' is basically a tale of sexual perversions brought on by head injuries in a small, suburban town.
Instead on creating great characters and a fun story, Waters seems simply out to offend as many people as humanly possible. On one level 'A Dirty Shame' tries to be a commentary on the current state of sexuality in America, but for the most part it's just a tiresome parade of perverse gags that drowns out any statement it tries to make. The problem for me is that the script was too juvenile, the jokes weren't funny, it relied too heavily on shock factor, and towards the end it was really running out of steam.
Overall the film is not that bad, it's just that it falls far short of Waters usual high standard.
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on 22 October 2007
this film is a satire on american values ,and sadly just comes across as a load of daft and unfathonable spliced shorts. thank the powers that be for tracey ullman and the other main players without whom this film would be for the bin!
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