A Dirty Shame

Tracey Ullman, Johnny Knoxville, Selma Blair, Mink Stole, Patricia Hearst

Directed by John Waters
Rolling Stone: star rating
5 3
Community: star rating
5 3 0
September 14, 2004

The 1972 scandal of Pink Flamingos, in which Waters had Divine nibble on dog feces, is now a tame stunt on Fear Factor. No matter. A Dirty Shame is Waters unleashed, and wicked, kinky fun for anyone except the twits who rated it NC-17. Tracey Ullman tears it up as Sylvia Stickles, a middle-age frump living with her sex- ved husband (Chris Isaak) on blue-collar Harford Road in Waters' native Baltimore. Sylvia is a schlump, but you just know that something's up when Waters weaves in the song "Sylvia," from a gorgeously tawdry 1965 Carroll Baker flick. One car accident and head concussion later, Sylvia has her legs in the air and is begging to have her labia licked. The first obliging stud is Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville, indulging in tongue action you never saw on Jackass). Ray-Ray is the leader of a sex-addict cult (all head-injury victims) and all hellbent on saving the world from sexless neuters. That might explain why Sylvia's daughter Caprice (the sublime Selma Blair) sexes up with breast implants that make Anna Nicole Smith look like Kate Moss and strips under the name Ursula Udders. It doesn't explain how Sylvia (dancing in a nursing home) manages to pick up a bottle with her vagina. But who wants explanations from a movie where even the trees take on the shape of hard-ons? You may even shed a tear when Sylvia bonds with her daughter by confessing, "I'm a cunnilingus bottom." OK, the jokes are hit-and-miss and the plot is nonexistent, but the Waters spirit stays consistently and sweetly twisted. When the cast takes to the streets singing, "Let's go sexin'," you want to cheer them on.

Movie Review Main Next


Community Guidelines »
loading comments

loading comments...


Sort by:
    Read More

    Movie Reviews

    More Reviews »
    Around the Web
    Powered By ZergNet
    Daily Newsletter

    Get the latest RS news in your inbox.

    Sign up to receive the Rolling Stone newsletter and special offers from RS and its
    marketing partners.


    We may use your e-mail address to send you the newsletter and offers that may interest you, on behalf of Rolling Stone and its partners. For more information please read our Privacy Policy.

    Song Stories

    “Madame George”

    Van Morrison | 1968

    One of the first stream-of-consciousness epics to make it onto a Van Morrison record, his drawn-out farewell to the eccentric "Madame George" lasted nearly 10 minutes, combining ingredients from folk, jazz and classical music. The character that gave the song its title provoked speculation that it was about a drag queen, though Morrison denied this in Rolling Stone. "If you see it as a male or a female or whatever, it's your trip," he remarked. "I see it as a ... a Swiss cheese sandwich. Something like that."

    More Song Stories entries »