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Overall Rating

Awesome: 24.19%
Worth A Look: 22.58%
Just Average: 17.74%
Pretty Crappy: 1.61%

4 reviews, 38 user ratings

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Dirty Love
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by Peter Sobczynski

"Hear the one about the blonde who went to L.A.and became a screenwriter?"
4 stars

I realize that there are any number of legitimate reasons as to why I could easily scorn and reject the new gross-out romantic comedy “Dirty Love.” It is crudely made, frequently over-the-top and contains jokes and images so far beyond the pale that if we were to discuss them in public, we might well run the risk of getting arrested for violating community standards–even if we were to have the discussion in Oakland. I could easily write a review (as I suspect many of my colleagues will) in which I would excoriate the film for those reasons and suggest that its very existence is a clear and potent symbol of the Death of Cinema. And yet, I cannot write such a review because of the simple fact that I found it kind of entertaining. Sure, it is awkwardly made and unapologetically disgusting but it is also frequently quite funny, which is more than I can say about any Farrelly Brothers or John Waters film to come down the pike in a while.

“Dirty Love” is the brainchild of Jenny McCarthy, the astonishingly resilient pop-culture icon whose combination of classic blonde beauty and a fondness for broad, knockabout humor has won her a fan base far beyond the typical refugee from the pages of “Playboy.” In the film, for which she also penned the screenplay, she plays Rebecca, a struggling photographer who discovers that her male-model boyfriend (Victor Webster) is cheating on her. After an astonishing meltdown in the middle of the Hollywood Walk of Fame, she stumbles into the lair of a psychic (Kathy Griffin) who not-so-helpfully warns her of all the pitfalls that she will encounter while searching for true love but who holds out the possibility that she might eventually find her “white pony.” With the aid of her friends–ditsy wannabe actress Carrie (Kam Heskin), wigger-in-training Michelle (Carmen Electra) and dopey-pal-too-shy-to-admit-he-loves-her John (Eddie Kaye Thomas), Rebecca decides to jump back into the dating pool in the hopes of finding true love and making her ex insanely jealous–hopefully at the same time.

Whomever it was that said that the course of true love doesn’t run smooth must not have seen “Dirty Love” because if they did, they might have had to say it twice. All of Rebecca’s efforts blow up in her face (and elsewhere) and usually end in one form of public humiliation or another. One date abruptly ends with her outside a crowded nightclub coated in vomit and with her dress half-off as flashbulbs go off. Another date, this time with a magician, goes so horribly wrong that when she gets the entire contents of the dinner table dumped on her (the inevitable result of trying the old pulling-the-tablecloth trick), it isn’t the low part of the evening. And as for the seemingly normal guy who brings her back to his place for a nightcap, all I will say about what occurs is that he must have learned everything that he needed to know about sex from Troy McClure. Even when she isn’t out on a date, Rebecca’s luck remains exceptionally bad–a desperate run to the supermarket for tampons turns into a comedy of errors that leaves the entire store looking like the warehouse at the end of “Reservoir Dogs.” By the time the ending comes around, in fact, many audience members may begin to worry that the “white pony” that she is looking for may not turn out to be so metaphorical after all.

You may not find these ideas to be particularly funny or, for that matter, understand how anyone else could think that they could lead to something funny. Nevertheless, I did find myself laughing and while explaining why something is funny is usually the surest way to kill a joke, I will give it a shot. Unlike many gross-out comedies, which will cheerfully go to any lengths to get viewers laughing and gagging, most of the big comedic set-pieces in “Dirty Love” have one foot–or at least a toe–firmly in the land of the plausible. Take the aforementioned scene in the supermarket. Certainly it is gross and the sheer amount of blood involved (imagine the final chute at your friendly neighborhood stockyard) takes the scene into the realms of outrageous fantasy. However, the joke is based on a fear of public embarrassment regarding menstruation that I suspect that many women may have felt at one time or another and it is that element of realism that keeps the joke from simply spiraling off into something that is simply too disgusting to watch or too unrealistic to be believed. Put it this way–I buy this scene a lot more than I buy the sight of a guy having sex with an apple pie in “American Pie.”

More importantly, the jokes don’t rely solely on the cruel mistreatment of the female characters in order to get laughs. In too many raunchy comedies–most of which are written by and for guys–the women tend to be either ciphers or the butt of astonishingly nasty jokes that come mighty close to bordering on misogyny. (For example, see what happens to Selma Blair throughout “The Sweetest Thing”–better yet, don’t.) Here, although all the female characters are goofy to one degree or another (the aspiring actress will cheerfully do anything or anyone to get ahead in the business, although she does admit that she no longer dates grips), McCarthy has a genuine affection for them and when they get enmeshed in their various predicaments, the scenes feel more like legitimate comedic constructs instead of an angry screenwriter vicariously taking revenge on the girl who dumped him at prom.

The other reason why the film works to the degree that it does is the way that Jenny McCarthy fearlessly flings herself into scenes that most actresses would dedicate their entire careers to avoiding. For a film like this to work, it needs a performer who is willing to go to any and all lengths to get laughs whenever possible and McCarthy is that kind of performer. She brings a lot of energy and a genuine zest for broad physical comedy to the proceedings and some may find her antics obnoxious, I was usually fairly amused. Her opening freak-out is particularly eye-opening for the way that she starts off the scene cranked up to 11 and proceeds to even higher levels of anxiety as it progresses. Additionally, she is just plain likable–she may look like a goddess but she comes off more like a regular person than a sex-bomb and so we actually find ourselves kind of rooting for her in her quest for true romance and happy when she gets the romantic cheese-bomb ending, complete with fireworks and Kelly Clarkson on the soundtrack, that she deserves.

The problem with “Dirty Love,” and the reason why I think some may be blinded by its otherwise obvious charms, is the fact that it has been directed by John Asher, McCarthy’s now-separated husband, with all the finesse of a Bar Mitzvah video. Visually, the film is atrocious–his plunk-the-camera-down-and-have-people-act-goofy-in-front-of-it style is so clunky that he makes Kevin Smith look like Francis Ford Coppola at his most operatic by comparison–and too many potentially funny bits fall flat because of the awkward staging. At other times, he lets scene run on far too long for their own good–the date with the magician and a subsequent visit to the police both would have been much funnier if they had been much shorter in length. Perhaps now that she is apparently back on the market, McCarthy can hook up with a director with an actual sense of cinematic style. (If time-travel ever becomes a reality, McCarthy needs to go back in time to work with the likes of Frank Tashlin or Russ Meyer, two directors who would have known exactly how to make use of her considerable attributes–comedic and otherwise.)

Despite those aesthetic shortcomings, “Dirty Love” has a lot of laughs–even Carmen Electra is pretty hilarious as a white girl who seems to have learned everything she knows about being “black” from watching the Fly Girls from “In Living Color” on a television set with exceptionally poor reception–and it also at times demonstrates evidence of a heart beating beneath its occasionally icky surface. It isn’t a masterpiece by any means and its over-the-top nature may well put off a lot of viewers but those with a strong taste for anything-goes humor (as well as a strong stomach) may well find it to be a cheerfully raunchy and likable little gem.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=11286&reviewer=389
originally posted: 09/22/05 23:53:34
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2005 Sundance Film Festival. For more in the 2005 Sundance Film Festival series, click here.

User Comments

10/02/10 art JENNY MCCARTHY must have written this flick,when she was on the JOHN! 2 stars
4/10/10 Lizbitch I REALLY want to know the song playing in the credits and during the menu!!! 4 stars
3/23/10 XGIRLX I freakin loved this movie.. I recommend it to people who DO HAVE A SENSE OF HUMOR!!!!!!! 5 stars
2/07/10 art THIS MOVIE was PATHETIC! 1 stars
12/13/09 art ONLY FOR HALF-WIT"S! 1 stars
8/17/09 G. Bell (iamgbell@hotmail.com) What is the name of the song that is played during the credits and during the dvds menu? 4 stars
8/02/09 Juniper Laughed out loud and rewound the boob part five times. Good watch. 4 stars
4/18/08 art ONLY FOR FAN"S OF JENNY MCCARTHY 3 stars
1/01/08 Jane I LOVED IT! 5 stars
10/16/07 js critics hate this film because mccarthy is a woman. men are praised for the same humor. 4 stars
6/19/07 Kristin So men can make crude movies and do fart jokes, but when a woman does it the movie is trash 5 stars
5/19/07 Jon I actually liked it. 4 stars
3/08/07 sean good movie...what is the song that plays on the menu? 1 stars
11/28/06 hydie love the movie, for those who dont like it, get a sence of humor bitchez 5 stars
11/13/06 faith The funniest movie i've ever see, i tell all my friends that it is a must see. 5 stars
11/01/06 janelle probably one of my favorite movies!! hysterical doesnt eve come close!! 5 stars
10/27/06 Melanie Bloody Awesome. Wher'es your sense of humour guys? 5 stars
9/14/06 DyrWolf That gorgeous woman wrote it too! It's Head & Shoulders above most of the movies out there 5 stars
9/10/06 Fran Miniser I thought it was histerical! 5 stars
8/20/06 skanky skank this movie is the best ever the only one I will show at my middle school sleepovers 5 stars
8/14/06 Stacie Any girl can relate to that feeling of being lost after a break up 4 stars
7/05/06 Constance Morgan hysterical! 4 stars
6/20/06 Dave fix your site, movie wasn't great, sum 41 is good 3 stars
4/29/06 Randy Wasn't that bad 3 stars
4/21/06 Jessica what is the name of the song on the menu before the movie? 5 stars
3/09/06 Anthony Who is the artist who sings the song on the dvd menu, and thats name of the song? 3 stars
3/05/06 Sean D Just won a razzie and rightly so. Crap 1 stars
12/16/05 Mike Worst movie I have ever seen. Painful to finish. 1 stars
12/15/05 Ian Graet "under construction" scene 4 stars
12/07/05 tatum McCarthy can be funnier than her own script 1 stars
11/28/05 hibbyX Crrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaappppppppp!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! 1 stars
9/26/05 Boombala Hey McCarthy rules. If Lucy were trying to make it today, she'd be doing what JMac is doing. 5 stars
9/20/05 Jeff Lindell Very funny 5 stars
3/25/05 Denise ok 3 stars
2/15/05 Juan pant wettingly funny 5 stars
1/26/05 joe i left halfway through! 1 stars
1/26/05 denny sucks! 1 stars
1/23/05 Nancy Jacobs Saw this last night at Sundance. It's hilarious! It's really out there, but it's funny. 5 stars
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  23-Sep-2005 (R)
  DVD: 06-Dec-2005



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