• NC-17, 1 hr. 29 min.
  • Comedy
  • Directed By:
    John Waters
    In Theaters:
    Sep 24, 2004 Limited
    On DVD:
    Jun 14, 2005
  • New Line Cinema


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A Dirty Shame Reviews

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Anthony L

Super Reviewer

February 18, 2014
A Dirty Shame is exactly that, a dirty shame. John Waters is an iconic director, the king of trash and bad taste but with a real talent and a warmth that is often overlooked in his films. The youth may see this a revolutionary film but it really isn't, it's a shadow of Water's earlier work. I didn't much like Pink Flamingos, indeed I'm not sure anyone was supposed to but I recognise its importance in the history of cinema. A Dirty Shame has none of what made Water's old films what they are, it's not that shocking, it's not much fun and it isn't remotely funny. I think the fact that he hasn't made a film since and doesn't have anything in the pipeline is pretty telling (although he must have made loads in royalties for Hairspray). I wonder too if this film didn't damage a few careers as some popular actors disappeared off the radar afterwards, most of them really being better and deserving more. Middle-America might still be shocked but the rest of the world couldn't really give a doodle i'm afraid.

Super Reviewer

October 22, 2013
Mediocre comedy with a few laughs strewn throughout, A Dirty Shame directed by Pink Flamingos director John Waters should have been much better considering its premise. Unfortunately, the film has a weak script that just doesn't deliver what it should have. I really wanted to enjoy the film, but most of the gags fell flat, and Waters can't seem to construct something memorable here. I will say this, this is far better than the awful mess Pink Flamingos, and he has managed to make something with a bit of humour, but overall due to its script, and lack of effective ideas, the movie as a whole suffers. The cast could have been better as well, and there is no one that stands out. This film should have been much better than what it turned out, and it's a shame because it could have been something really amusing. Aside from a few laughs, the film lacks something to make an effective comedy. I really wanted to enjoy the film, and I can see that this was a film that had plenty of great ideas that was halted due to a lacking script. If the script would have been significantly tighter, with better gags, I think A Dirty Shame would have a very good film. Instead we get a mediocre comedy with mild laughs and so-so acting. The cast is varied enough, but there is just no spark to really make this film take off. A Dirty Shame is a film that has plenty of potential, but ultimately just disappoints the viewer that wants something more out of their viewing experience.
Lucas M

Super Reviewer

May 22, 2011
Waters try to make this film a extremely funny and dirty. The thing is: he transform A Dirty Shame in a very silly movie. However, still commit some laughs.
Michael G

Super Reviewer

November 23, 2006
A Dirty Shame is the perfect title for this movie. Its got all the random, demented, kitschy and riotous humor that most John Waters movies have. I won't lie when I say I was laughing uncontrollably and obnoxiously for the first 45 minutes of this movie. Unfortunately A Dirty Shame turns into a pile of pointless nonsense that was always there with this movie, but my tolerance kicked in and kind of expected a little more making the movie... a dirty shame. This definitely wasn't my first rodeo as far as John Waters was concerned but I guess I just wanted a little more plotwise. Don't get me wrong, this movie was hysterical and well worth the NC-17-rated watch for the hokey pokey scene alone. It just fell apart at the end.
Spencer S

Super Reviewer

August 8, 2010
The film as a whole has all the uninteresting raunch you'd expect with a John Waters film, but the mere fact that this isn't a shell shocked nation, and Divine isn't drag queening it up made an unimpressive impact. That the film has a NC-17 rating probably drew in some unsuspecting viewers, and possibly the film was making some sort of statment, but that statement just seemed to be "trying too hard."
_kelly .

Super Reviewer

April 21, 2008
As part of my movies with sexual themes series, I am reviewing/watching all of John Waters' work. This is the one that got an NC-17 after the MPAA review board had to compile a list of believed sexual acts that the board was unfamiliar with that they wished Mr. Waters to explain (great interview where he talks about that in the famous doc 'This Film Is Not Yet Rated').
This is like the plot of Footloose, except instead of dancing, it is "sexual anarchy" that the "liberated" are fighting for.
Johnny Knoxville is able to stand up to the always brilliant Tracy Ullman, which surprised me because of his Jackass start to his career. This is a straight-forward comedy romp, and unlike most modern comedies, is comedic (these are really the only kind I bother to write about). If you ever wondered what Waters would do if he had CGI in the budget, this film answers that question with some screwing squirrels and a real big money shot (no you have not seen a bigger one and if you have send it to me).
My only complaint is that instead of continuing jokes centered around a character's favorite sexual activity, just keep going down the list and adding more and more people with more and more sexual proclivities. Across the span of Waters' career, he's covered many sexualities, and this movie has about thirty new ones, so I'm really being a blossomed anal bitch about that.
Another fantastic thing I can say about this movie is that I wasn't able to get through it without a wank intermission. "Let's go SEXIN!!!"
Lafe F

Super Reviewer

August 12, 2007
John Waters' absurd plot of characters being hit on the head and losing their sexual inhibitions so they'll act out their deepest desires -- which was cartoonish and hard to believe. Some of the fetishes were rare. It's hard to find the unrated version at Blockbuster. I liked the Bear club in the movie. Silly fluffy stuff which had no big message.

Super Reviewer

June 19, 2007
Good hilarious with heap of blasphemy, naughty bits and obscene anarchy pumped up with special effects, found footage, hallucinations and fisheye lenses. Selma Blair's character in her fake breasts is bigger as a beach-ball - whoa!

Super Reviewer

April 4, 2006
[font=Century Gothic]"A Dirty Shame" takes place in Baltimore where Sylvia(Tracey Ullman) and Vaughn(Chris Isaak) Stickles are the unproud parents of Caprice(Selma Blair) aka Ursula Udders(so named due to her radical breast enlargement surgery) who is under house arrest and lock and key for various indecent exposure violations. Sylvia and Vaughn are prudish in their sexual attitudes as compared to most of their new neighbors. After her car stalls out, Sylvia suffers a concussion from an accidental knock on the head, and has her sexual attitudes turned completely around. She is now a sex addict and seeks advice from Ray Ray(Johnny Knoxville, in the role he was born to play), a prophet of sex who says Sylvia is the 12th apostle in searching for a new, revolutionary sex act.[/font]
[font=Century Gothic][/font]
[font=Century Gothic]"A Dirty Shame" is a raunchy, silly movie made by John Waters in his inimitable style. The movie welcomes the liberation of sexual thought and that there are many, many varieties of sexual expression. [/font]

Super Reviewer

May 15, 2010
A very very VERY weird movie about various sex addicts in different situations of life. This pack of people are lead by character played by Knoxville. This movie was very exadurated in many ways and a bit catchy. I was packing my suitcase to prepare for a trip and I just had to sit down to watch this movie because it was extremely weird.
Sunil J

Super Reviewer

April 25, 2008
Filthy and slightly demented but entertaining as only Waters can do it.
Robert F

Super Reviewer

September 29, 2006
Outrageous, filthy, and hysterically funny.
Marcus W

Super Reviewer

December 20, 2007
This reminded me a lot of The Mist - if you replace tentacled beasties with sex-addicts. It's a lot funnier than The Mist too, though I had to look away at times as this film happily explores all fetishes and does so in a cartoonish style with CGI squirrels, Knoxville as a Sex Jesus and Selma Blair with zeppelin breasts. Oh, and it's directed by John Waters, if you hadn't already guessed.
July 18, 2007
I saw promise in A Dirty Shame when I viewed it's trailer a few years ago. It looked pretty wild and funny, but trailers are misleading most of the time; this movie was about as interesting as street pizza on the Autobahn. The characters were flat and uninspired; only Tracey Ullman had any sort of true zeal, but even that wasn't much. This is one of those films that thirteen year old boys brag about watching because of all the lame sex jokes; American Pie pulled off that idea much better.

In the end, the only thing that's a dirty shame is that perfectly good film was wasted on this crapfest.
July 10, 2010
An amusing romp through John Waters' grocery list of perversions, told with tongue gloriously in cheek.

I managed to catch a censored version of this on cable, but will be buying the uncensored version in all its NC-17 glory soon enough.

*Edit* Having now purchased and enjoyed the unedited version, I can confirm that it is indeed the way to go.

Well worth a look, fun ridiculous stuff.
October 22, 2011
I just had to laugh at the absurdity of it, and that's what John Waters is all about; making people laugh at outrageous things. The ironic use of pop music, the tree's getting it on, what are people on about "its not believable or real enough", Heck i don't want it to be realistic, LETS GO SEXIN'
July 2, 2011
"Let's go sexing" is the call of this one. Don't watch if you have sex aversion. John Waters and Baltimore. Hint: you need to bonk your head to get it right.
March 28, 2011
Really funny, really delightful. John Waters shows his mastery of challenging social norms in sexuality once again with this belly bursting laugh filled comedy.
June 12, 2009
Not deserving of its NC-17 rating, still funny and perverted in its own cheap way. CGI squirrels were lame, the overall kinkiness was awe-inspiring.
December 7, 2008
What a dirty shame in deed, Iam a John Walter's fan but did not like this moive. The laughs in A Dirty Shame are mostly bad laughs. Tracey Ullman plays a Baltimore store owner who's married to Chris Isaak. They lock up their daughter to prevent her form working as a topless dancer. Played by a unreconizable Selma Blair. Ullman's charcater is uptight sexualyy until she gets a concussion that turns her into sex addict. Johnny Knoxville plays the local sex advocate who wants to liberate the world starring with his neigborhood in Baltamore.

The joke is that everytime someone hits their head, they pass in sex addiction or out of it. I have an open mind but the movie talks about sexual fetishes I would rather not want to hear about and the humor is all based on how to shock people with outrageous behavior. It may have a adults only ratng but the humour is pitched on the level of pre-adolescence bathroom humor. As I said before you can have a open mind and hate this movie and I very well hated it. It's the equivalent of a guy in the back of a theater in a raincoat. This whole movie has that infantile attitude about sex. Some the sexual practices or festhies these people talk about are so awfully unpleasant, very very cringe worthy.
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