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USA 1974
Directed by
John Waters
95 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
Bernard Hemingway
2.5 stars

Female Trouble

Female Trouble certainly has the kind of outrageous chutzpah that earns a film a cult following and director/writer John Waters is indeed the anointed high priest of trash cinema on the basis of this film and its predecessor Pink Flamingos. Unfortunately, whilst it starts out with a kind of  energetic charm that is a cross between in-your-face vulgarity and deadpan Warholian outlandishness it runs out of steam by its mid-point and ends up doing little but upping the ante on the vulgarity.

Waters’ Galatea, Divine, plays Dawn Davenport an overweight teenage slut who runs away from her Baltimore home on Christmas Day and hitches a ride with a passing motorist (also played by Divine) who rapes her. She gets pregnant as a result and we follow her sorry life which eventually ends up in the electric chair.

That’s not really a plot spoiler as Waters is just out to have fun with the hoary troubled teenager B movie from the 1950s for which he no doubt has great affection. We have quite a bit of fun too as beside the outré Dawn he introduces a roll call of goofy characters including her daughter Taffy (Mink Stole), her gormless hairdresser husband Gator (Michael Potter) and her gross Aunt Ida (Edith Massey). But once these characters are in place like a lot of comedies its sole strategy to prolong its running time is to escalate the jokes which made its first half hour or so quite engaging. The residue is more silly than funny for anyone but hardcore Waters fans.




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