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!
|Ursula Udders displays her wears.|
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!