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A Dirty Shame (2004)

NC-17 | | Comedy | 24 September 2004 (USA)
Trailer
1:54 | Trailer
An uptight, middle-aged, repressed woman turns into a sex addict after getting hit on the head, and she then falls into an underground subculture of sex addicts in suburban Baltimore.

Director:

John Waters

Writer:

John Waters
1 win. See more awards »

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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Tracey Ullman ... Sylvia
Johnny Knoxville ... Ray Ray
Selma Blair ... Caprice
Chris Isaak ... Vaughn
Suzanne Shepherd ... Big Ethel
Mink Stole ... Marge The Neuter
Patricia Hearst ... Paige
Jackie Hoffman ... Dora
Nick Noble Nick Noble ... Weird Paperboy (as Nicholas E.I. Noble)
Lucy Newman-Williams Lucy Newman-Williams ... Neuter Yuppie Woman
Scott Morgan Scott Morgan ... Neuter Yuppie Man
Wes Johnson ... Fat Fuck Frank
David A. Dunham ... Mama Bear
David Moretti David Moretti ... Papa Bear (as Dave Moretti)
Jeffrey Auerbach Jeffrey Auerbach ... Baby Bear
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Storyline

Middle-aged, sexually repressed Sylvia Stickles is the subject of this John Water's film, set in North Baltimore. She refuses to have sex with her husband, Vaughn Stickles, and keeps her overly-endowed daughter, Caprice, locked in her room, while she serves home detention for moral depravity charges. Sylvia, together with her mother Big Ethel, lead a group calling themselves "neuters" that promotes decency on Harford Road. When Sylvia is accidentally hit on the head by a lawnmower hanging out of a passing pick-up truck, however, her sexual behavior is changed completely from prude to prostitute. She meets the sex addicted sexual healer Ray Ray Perkins, becoming his twelfth apostle of sex in a journey of pleasure and orgasm. Written by Claudio Carvalho, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Taglines:

Threatening the very limits of common decency.

Genres:

Comedy

Motion Picture Rating (MPAA)

Rated NC-17 for pervasive sexual content | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

According to John Waters, when he asked the MPAA what would need to be removed in order for the film to obtain an R rating, he was told "after a while, we just stopped taking notes." See more »

Goofs

Before running out of gas, the car is turned off and in park but is still driving. See more »

Quotes

Neuter Man with Sub-Titles: [after Sylvia makes a move on him] That's it! I'm moving to Tulsa.
Big Ethel: Don't run away. Join us for our decency rally today. Only you can prevent fornication.
Neuter Man with Sub-Titles: Whatever...
See more »

Alternate Versions

The Theratrical Release Of The film was the original NC-17 version.For the VHS/DVD releases John Waters said that it will be released in the original NC-17 rated version and a cut R Rated Version. See more »

Connections

Referenced in Rewind This! (2013) See more »

Soundtracks

Itchy Twitchy Spot
Performed by Run C&W
Written by Don Von Tress (as Donald L. Von Tress)
Courtesy of MCA Nashville
Under license from Universal Music Enterprises
See more »

User Reviews

 
Often hilarious, very disturbing and oddly endearing, John Waters' "A Dirty Shame" works at first, but gets too weird for its own good... Still a decent ride...
14 February 2012 | by MaximumMadnessSee all my reviews

John Waters' satirical 2004 release "A Dirty Shame" was the controversial film that attained an NC-17, and basically was unable to be edited for an R-rating. Waters' film is very disgusting at times, sometimes even vile in its matter-of-fact portrayal of various sexual fetishes (some of which are admittedly fun-looking, while others are just plain foul and hilarious), which to be honest is expected of his films. And oddly, the characters are all well-played and likable. This is a film I have trouble rating. It isn't his best film, but it is ultimately enjoyable, despite some serious flaws.

Tracy Ullman stars as Sylvia, a "neuter" (someone who is repressed sexually) in a small town that is obvious very repressed and uptight. However, within the community exists a growing group of people who have experienced a sexual awakening (mainly due to head injuries), and are very open with their fantasies. When Sylvia experiences a head injury and is awakened, she meets with "sex saint" Ray-Ray (Johnny Knoxville) who introduces her to the world of open sexual fetishes, as he and his followers search for the ultimate fetish.

The film is very much a sexual cartoon, and often is full of exaggerated ideas, dialog and imagery. Waters employs all sorts of tactics (everything from gags, on-screen subtitles, suggestive set dressing, etc.) to illustrate a town that is repressed while still being exposed to sexuality, and the characters are all very interesting. I didn't even mention Selma Blair as Ullman's daughter- a woman who has enormous implants that are practically bigger than the rest of her body.

The film is also quite funny (particularly a scene that will make you look at the "Hokey-Pokey" in a whole new way), with some great gags and hilarious dialog, as well as trademark over-the-top jokes. A lot of "queasy" laughs are also brought in by the descriptions of various fetishes (many of which are real) and occasionally by seeing them played out by our "awakened" characters. Although this is one of the problems- the film does go overboard at times, and a lot of the gags don't quite fit in, and interrupt the flow.

In addition, it isn't made particularly well- certain effects give themselves away, the plot does get sloppy, and after a while, the content will weigh on your patience. You will wish that more "plot" would happen.

That being said, there is still a lot of fun to be had, just don't expect this to be Waters' masterpiece. I give it a slightly above average 6 out of 10.


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Frequently Asked Questions

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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 September 2004 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

A Dirty Shame See more »

Filming Locations:

Maryland, USA See more »

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Box Office

Budget:

$15,000,000 (estimated)

Opening Weekend USA:

$29,384, 19 September 2004

Gross USA:

$1,339,668

Cumulative Worldwide Gross:

$1,914,166
See more on IMDbPro »

Company Credits

Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

| (R-rated)

Sound Mix:

Dolby Digital

Color:

Color

Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
See full technical specs »

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