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Dust in our eyes

Lust in the Dust. Starring Tab Hunter, Divine and Lainie Kazan. Directed by Paul Bartel. Opens today at Sack Cinema Copley Place and suburban Sack theaters. Rated R.

The press kit bills Lust in the Dust as "a Western-spoof [sic] for the '80s." The decade deserves better. This film is stupid. It offends while being neither incisive nor funny.

Lust in the Dust attempts to parody Western-genre films such as The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. Aging pretty-boy Tab Hunter plays the Eastwood-esque Good Guy, Abel Wood. He and the other characters are drawn to the town of Chili Verde in search of buried gold.

Enroute, Wood meets fellow treasure-seeker Rosie, played by Divine. Rosie relates, in a flashback, her encounter with and rape by Hard Case Williams and his gang of outlaws. Rosie, while protesting loudly, clearly enjoys that adventure.

Arriving in Chili Verde, the pair encounter Marguerita, a madam played by Lainie Kazan and other denizens of the dusty town.

The rest of the film deals with the various insipid interactions of these characters as they try to find the map and solve the limerick that will lead them to the gold.

The only redeeming and funny part of the film is Geoffrey Lewis's portrayal of Hard Case, the scripture-spouting, grammatically correct desperado. Lewis goes through the picture with the countenance of a surprised accountant, adding to the humor of his character.

The acting may be flat, but the stars are not. The film relys on being a T&A comedy. The former spills from the tops of Divine's and Kazan's dresses; the latter serves as the parchment for the map. The big running gag is Rosie's maiming and killing of men with her thighs.

Paul Bartel, of Eating Raoul fame, directed Philip John Taylor's weak script. The producers seem to be trying to create another cult classic like Raoul. Hunter, since his Damn Yankees days, has become almost as much of a joke as Divine, the rotund, transvestite veteran of cult flicks.

Taylor lifts his best jokes from the standard for Western spoofs, Blazing Saddles. Aside from those few exceptions, Lust in the Dust has none of the wit of either of those fine films.

Robert E. Malchman->