John Waters, USA, 2004, 84 min.
John Waters’ films may have calmed down a bit since the seventies, but A Dirty Shame still has the over-the-top nonsense charm of his earlier work. The story involves a sort of messiah of sex (Johnny Knoxville), who has recruited a bunch of disciples to spread the word. Tracy Ullman is the new recruit, who recently received a head injury that turned her from a prude into a sex maniac.
There are a lot of great supporting roles. Selma Blair plays Ursula Udders with absurdly large fake breast and Mink Stole plays one of the town prudes. But the person who was most memorable was Suzanne Shepherd as Big Ethel. She easily has the best delivery and every time she spoke I started laughing.
What struck me most about the film was that John Waters and all involved were having a lot of fun making it. It’s not perfect, but its broad humor and independent spirit struck a chord with me. These were people who set out to make a fun movie, ignored the usual studio rules (by the power of John Waters reputation, no doubt), and just ran with a so-so script and gave it all they got.
This film wins the award “Oddest Celebrity Cameo” for a surprise celebrity that appears out of nowhere and moves the plot forward in a very unique way.