Picks and Pans Review: Lust in the Dust

updated 03/18/1985 at 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/18/1985 01:00AM

It's hard to resist a movie most critics hate so much. "Witless," sniffed a reviewer for the New York Times. "Awful," echoed Rex Reed, who added that in his opinion the film "produces the kind of green reaction you get from eating a rancid burrito." Well, what did they expect from a whacked-out Western parody starring has-been '50s hunk Tab Hunter and 300-pound female impersonator Divine—High Noon? What Lust in the Dust delivers instead is tacky, hit-and-miss hilarity. Just the sight of Divine gussied up in full dance-hall-girl drag riding a donkey that weighs less than she/ he offers more laughs than a barrel full of teenage sex comedies. And Hunter, wearing the de rigueur serape, apes Clint Eastwood's clenched teeth to perfection. Lainie Kazan also makes a spirited contribution as Divine's brothel-owning sister. Separate halves of a treasure map have been tattooed on the siblings' ample derrieres. (Their cheek-to-cheek union is a consummation devoutly to be missed.) But these are ladies who know how to give an audience a chops-smacking good time; so do Cesar Romero as a crooked padre, Geoffrey Lewis as a bandit leader and especially Nedra Volz as a diminutive hooker known as Big Ed. It's a long way from Noël Coward or even Mel (Blazing Saddles) Brooks, and director Paul (Eating Raoul) Bartel could have goosed up the pace a bit, but those in search of a smattering of cheap laughs will find Lust in the Dust the perfect oasis. (R)

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