If you count his more "mainstream" efforts..
Polyester - Boring
Hairspray - Amusing
Cry Baby - Rock'n'Roll
Serial Mom - Hilarious
Pecker - Boring
Cecil B- DeMented - Amusing
It seems to come to actors.
Cry Baby had Johnny Depp, Traci Lords etc.. Actors that dare to be outrageous..
Serial Mom had Kathleen Turner who's simply great in that kind of parts.. "Undercover Blues", "Serial Mom", "Virgin Suicides", where you sort of see the shine in her eyes..
Melanie Griffith might be an ok actress, but in Cecil B. DeMented there's somed kind of "desperation" over her acting, which kills the fun..
John Waters is outrageous, but unless the actors are able to sort of go at it with some kind of control, it becomes too outrageous and becomes too screamy..
With Tracy Ullman, Selma Blair, Johnny Knoxville.. it seems he's gotten the kind of actors he needs for A Dirty Shame, making it look "promising". Especially Tracy Ullman is the kind of comedienne that's able to be outrageous but make it all seem "natural", in some way.
It'll be interesting to see what Selma Blair does with her gigantic prosthetic boobs, too..