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David Boudreau stood outside the Somerville Loews movie theatre, trying to coax his two young sons away from the glitzy poster advertising Wednesday's opening of Ford Fairlane.
"He's abusive towards women and children," Boudreau said of the film's star, Andrew Dice Clay. A bit further out of his sons' hearing range, however, he had a confession to make.
"I will go see him myself," Boudreau admitted. "The bottom line is he'd make me laugh, from a sick point of view."
On Wednesday night, most of the men attending the local premiere of Ford Fairlaine--the movie starring the controversial Clay--expressed similar thoughts, and most of them were not so shy about it as Boudreau.
Younger males approached the theater with less trepidation than Boudreau. They unabashedly looked forward to a fresh routine from Clay, the controversial standup comic whose act has been labelled, among other things, sexist, racist and homophobic.
Clay was even banned from MTV after delivering some unscheduled off-color remarks during an awards ceremony.
"If a person takes Andrew Dice Clay seriously, he's an idiot," said a student at Northeastern who identified himself only as Brian. "He's only a comic and he's doing what he believes in. It's a crude comedy, but no one can stop him."
While several adolescent males lined the theatre in unisex groups, most of the women in attendance had come with a date. They smirked at the praise their boyfriends bestowed upon Clay, and hastened to clarify that they did not choose the evening's entertainment.
"I'm here because he dragged me along," said Linda, who also refused to identify herself fully.
"He's a funny guy," whispered Jimmy, her companion.
The audience--or at least the male portion of it--continued its vocal enthusiasm throughout the movie. Dice kept his racist and homophobic jokes to an uncharacteristic minimum, but the healthy repertoire of sexist jabs elicited screeches and wails of approval.
Especially popular among these humor connoisseurs were references to the human genitalia, and their potential for intermingling.
For example, the theatre erupted in laughter when a disc jockey told Clay, "Years ago, I met this girl in Jersey. She was a pig. But I fucked her."
Several discerning audience members mumbled "Come on, that's bullshit" when certain characters miraculously survivied several violent attacks. But for the most part, the ever-realistic gunplay and hand-to-hand combat scenes yielded a fairly unified chorus of "Oh, shit" and "Yeaaah."
Despite their initial hesitations about seeing the film, many women said afterwards that Clay's antics were tamer than they had expected.
"It was a little on the shady side," said Carol Krouse. But she added that she did not find Ford Fairlane particularly offensive.
And the upbeat inscriptions on men's faces as they departed seemed to indicate that they, at least, had gotten their $6.50 worth.
"The guy was a riot," Jim Morin said of Clay's performance.
Morin's friend, Rich Little, was even less circumspect about his approval.
"Definitely an ass-kicker," Little said.
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