A Dirty Shame

2006-08-03 09:33


Lust is in the air on Harford Road and Sylvia Stickles (Tracey Ullman), a grumpy, repressed middle-aged Baltimorean, doesn't like it. Though Sylvia's husband Vaughn (Chris Isaak) still has marital urges, Sylvia couldn't be less interested. She has to take care of their exhibitionist daughter Caprice (Selma Blair) who has been sentenced to home detention after several public nudity violations.

Everything changes when Sylvia has a car crash and sexy tow-truck driver Ray-Ray Perkins (Johnny Knoxville) rushes to her aid. The concussed Sylvia is suddenly convinced that Ray-Ray is a sexual healer, sent to set her free. A prude no longer, Sylvia suddenly views the world through hypersexual eyes.

But Sylvia's mother, Big Ethel (Suzanne Shepherd), decides it is time to fight back. Supported by her sex-hating neighbours like Marge the Neuter (Mink Stole), Big Ethel leads the battle for "Neuter normality."

Desperate for acceptance, Sylvia seeks out Ray-Ray at his garage, and discovers that she is not alone in her new mania. Head injuries have brought forth a flock of Sex Addicts who have infiltrated every corner of the community. Together these wanton weirdos plan to take over Harford Road. But they're not counting on the Neuters, who vow to do everything in their power to stop them.

What the critics are saying:

"A big, lascivious punch line about America's peculiar, embarrassed, hypocritical relationship with sex."
- Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

"This raucously gritty and high-spirited film could scarcely be bluer in terms of the language, but from Waters it comes as a gust of fresh air."
- Kevin Thomas, Los Angeles Times

"Monotonous, repetitive and sometimes wildly wrong in what it hopes is funny."
- Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times

Whether you enjoy this bold and bawdy social satire depends very much on your tolerance for director John Waters' foul mouth and for his absurdist frame of reference. Monty Python fans will adore it, prudes and lovers of "serious" cinema will hate it.

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