Since we all know what a heartless pig Andrew Dice Clay is, I won’t bore you by trotting out the usual litany of outraged complaints. They’re all true (he’s like court jester to the Third Reich), but what’s also true is that Dice Rules accrues a hostile, mesmerizing force. In this concert movie, which was filmed last year during his sold-out shows at New York’s Madison Square Garden, Clay rides his negative energy like a master surfer. His act courses along on electric jolts of rage and taboo-shattering glee, and his audience is so plugged into what he’s doing — so hooked on his fantasy of omnipotent bullying as the guiding force in human relations, especially sexual ones — that the rapport between them achieves a cult-like intensity.
As always, Clay’s swaggering-greaser persona makes him a walking schlock-culture artifact, a fusion of Elvis, Sha Na Na, and Rodney Dangerfield. At the same time, his view of women simply as receptacles for his manhood isn’t that far removed from the mangy hyperbole of Charles Bukowski and Henry Miller. I’m not saying he’s comparable to them as an artist, only that Clay’s scabrous pop nihilism can’t just be dismissed as rantings from the fringe. As this movie makes clear, women comprise a sizable — and enthusiastic — sector of the Diceman’s audience. In the late 20th century, it seems, men aren’t the only ones to embrace the comedy of brutality as a cathartic antidote to numbness. C+