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Overall Rating

Awesome: 31.91%
Worth A Look48.94%
Just Average: 14.89%
Pretty Crappy: 4.26%
Sucks: 0%

4 reviews, 23 user ratings

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Female Trouble
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by Charles Tatum

"Well, it's better than 'Pecker'"
3 stars

John Waters and Divine follow up their gross out hit "Pink Flamingos" with a tamer, and better, film.

If you are unfamiliar with a John Waters film, then the following plot summary is going to make absolutely no sense. The film is essentially a biopic of the fictional Dawn Davenport (Divine). She is a large, troubled 1960 high school girl whose life of crime springs from the absence of cha-cha heels under the Christmas tree. She attacks her parents for not getting her the gift she wants, runs away, and hooks up with the repulsive Earl Peterson (also Divine). Dawn ends up pregnant, and gives birth to daughter Taffy after Earl rejects her.

From 1961 to 1967, Dawn makes ends meet working as a waitress, go-go dancer, a hooker, and finally turns to a life of robbery and muggings. She falls in love with famous hairdresser Gator (Michael Potter) or Gater, according to the end credits, and they marry (in one of the film's most outrageous scenes). By the mid-70's, the two have come to hate each other.

Donald (David Lochary) and Donna (Mary Vivian Pearce), the beauty salon owners, decide to use Dawn in an art experiment. They want to photograph her committing various criminal acts, capturing her true beauty. Gator leaves Dawn for Detroit, and Gator's angry aunt Ida (Edith Massey) throws acid in Dawn's face, scarring her. Soon, Dawn's life of crime and entertainment grows, and her fourteen year old daughter Taffy (a very funny Mink Stole) goes looking for her father, which launches a series of murders.

While "Female Trouble" is not as shocking as "Pink Flamingos," I do think it is better (slightly). The obtuse dialogue is still here, but Divine seems to be making an actual attempt to turn in a performance (as both Dawn and Earl). Waters gets his point across- as a country we turn mass murderers into celebrities, a point still evident today. In the director's commentary, he correctly compares a death sentence to winning an Oscar, a person cannot receive a more ultimate reward for attaining the pinnacle of their profession- whether it be acting or killing.

Divine does do some wicked things, but nothing compared to her snack at the end of "Pink Flamingos." Waters uses a larger cast to good effect, and his camera angles seem better planned. Divine is good, and the rest of the cast do their Waters-best, but Mink Stole (a grown woman playing a teenager) gets the best lines and is hilarious. Her murder is both horrifying and slapstick-funny. The acid makeup on Divine's face is rarely believable, but you quickly forget that after Divine's change from put-upon housewife to a Mohawked makeup monster performing her nightclub routine (which is rather tame up until she opens fire on her audience).

"Female Trouble" was re-released and somehow garnered an NC-17 rating. Between this and "The Dreamers," male nudity is still the final frontier the MPAA has no interest in exploring. This is blatant sexism. A woman can be shown in a full frontal nude scene and the film can garner an R or even a PG13, but when a male does frontal nudity, it's R or worse.

In the John Waters canon, "Female Trouble" fits squarely in the middle, it is certainly better than "Pecker" but cannot touch "Cry-Baby." If you are a Waters fan, you could probably add a star to my rating, I do recommend his director's commentary, it is great.

link directly to this review at https://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=4411&reviewer=325
originally posted: 02/17/05 10:10:56
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User Comments

1/22/14 fine necromounds funny to an extent, then it just gets into a game of "how offensive can john waters be?" 2 stars
2/07/13 Val Veeta One of the funniest films ever made! 5 stars
12/21/10 Moose Rapper It's Divine! 5 stars
12/25/09 Chad Dillon Cooper Anybody who hates "Hollywood" comedies needs to see this. 5 stars
10/24/09 John Hynds see, The US can do real comedy - thanks to John, Divine, Edith & the ensemble castg 5 stars
9/24/09 Dennis Simply The Finest Film ever made or to be made. 5 stars
3/16/09 Pinky I have a sick sense of humor, and I LOVE it 5 stars
3/16/09 Josie Cotton is a goddess Could not stop laughing. A comedy classic 4 stars
12/03/08 Shaun Wallner Thought this was a good film. 4 stars
7/17/07 indy loved everything about the about laughed till i cried 4 stars
11/20/06 Glenn Soffen One of my favorate Waters films. I must have seen it 50 times and I still laugh out loud! 5 stars
9/30/06 Stevnated I don't get it. It's just somethin crude and repulsive for shock value? 2 stars
11/09/05 othoob crazy shat 4 stars
2/16/05 Briggs Mushrush i think that the movie is great and is definitly worth viewing...kind of abstract. 4 stars
6/07/03 earl hoffert there is so much packed into this movie, it's insane 5 stars
2/11/03 brentley Stupid movie.... 3 stars
11/10/02 Vicious Toy/Electric Crotch One of the most hilarious pictures I've ever seen! I laugh my ass off every time I see it! 5 stars
6/19/02 YumYumKing Gotta love the popping out of the glass eye! 5 stars
3/14/02 Dreamland437 John Waters' best ever!!!!!! 5 stars
3/10/02 Brad Streep Nice girls dont wear ch-cha heels!!! Neither do I!!!! 5 stars
12/13/01 Sonia I own the movie and have been watching it for the past 12 years and I still laugh each time 5 stars
2/20/01 Rocket Boy John Waters' best, with Divine as a beauty queen. 5 stars
1/27/01 Tony Coley High camp and low taste in my favorite John Waters film. Watch it with your Mom! 5 stars
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  02-Oct-1975 (NC-17)
  DVD: 07-Sep-2004



Directed by
  John Waters

Written by
  John Waters

  Mink Stole
  Susan Lowe
  Edith Massey
  David Lochary
  Mary Vivian Pearce

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