Before I begn this review, let me say that I love John Waters' films. Especially, the early ones. I feel his best film is "Female Trouble," but all of his films from "Pink Flamingos" up to and including "Hairspray" are great (his pre-"Flamingos" titles, "Mondo Trasho" and "Multiple Maniacs" are rough but have their moments). Then, he made "Cry-Baby" - still very entertaining but a step down from "Hairspray." "Serial Mom" was a step down from "Cry-Baby," for me, but, again, there were great bits. Unfortunately, even though I'm always rooting for Waters, "Pecker" and "Cecil B. Demented" were pretty rotten. So, now he brings us, "A Dirty Shame." The good news is, it's a vast improvment over "Demented" and "Pecker." This is largely due to his strongest cast in years. As much of a novelty as it was to see Kathleen Turner slicing and dicing in "Mom" and Melanie Griffith bitching and cursing in "Demented," those actresses (and others, like Christina Ricci in "Pecker," for example) never quite grasped the way Waters dialogue needed to be played (meaning, really over-the-top and hysterical). However, Tracy Ullmann nails it, milking every scene she's in for maximum comedic value. The rest of the cast is up to par, as well, with Suzanne Shepherd especially standing out in her role as the typical, suburban, outraged prude that Waters frequently writes into his films. The bad news is, it's still a few notches below his greatest work. It's very, very funny for about 35-45 minutes, then it slowly runs out of steam. There is barely a third act to speak of and the payoff is quite weak (the film kinda just stops rather than ending properly). The set-up is great but then it has nowhere to go. However, there a laughs throughout and, even when it begins getting redundant, it manages to coast along on goodwill and energy, so that it is always watchable if not hilarious. So, all in all, I rank this offering as a pretty good return to form. Compared to "Demented," it's genius. Compared to "Female Trouble," it's good to mediocre. For anyone who's never seen a Waters flick, gosh, I don't know how they'll react. Half will love it, half will loathe it, I suspect.