Reviewed by John Perry
Rating: 7.5 Beans
ohn Waters strikes again. His first mainstream feature film, "Polyester", is hardly as shocking and repulsive as his past projects including "Pink Flamingos" and "Desperate Living", though it has its inspired moments. Instead, here Waters delivers an actually funny and deliciously campy homage to the all-American family.
When "Polyester" was originally released in 1981, movie patrons were handed a white card with the numbers 1 through 10 on it. When the appropriate number flashed on the screen, they were instructed to scratch and sniff the matching number on their card. This gimmick, Odorama, contained some pleasant and pungent smells to be enjoyed by moviegoers. Unfortunately, on the video version, the numbers still flash, but we're not supplied with a card to scratch and sniff.
The story revolves around the Fishpaw family. Mom Francine Fishpaw (Divine) is an easily embarrassed overweight housewife always being put down by her sleazy husband, a porn shop owner. Her life seems to be falling apart when her husband leaves her for his slutty secretary, her teenaged daughter Lulu is pregnant and wanting an abortion, and her son Dexter is the infamous Baltimore Foot Stomper. She resorts to alcoholism to make herself feel better, until she meets the man of her dreams, Todd Tomorrow (Tab Hunter, the 50s heartthrob).
Anyone who has seen Waters' old films will probably recognize several characters in this one in major or small roles. Filmed on a shoestring budget (as usual), it's surprisingly funny and pokes fun at such social issues as abortion, religion, and pornography.
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