By Owen Gleiberman
Updated October 16, 2008 at 04:00 AM EDT

In Madonna’s directorial debut Filth and Wisdom, A.K. (Eugene Hutz), a gratingly boisterous Ukrainian gypsy with a Joseph Stalin mustache, turns to the camera to say that ”filth” and ”wisdom” are just alternate paths to the same Truth. That’s a promising idea for a Madonna film, but this fragmented and genially campy ensemble comedy only rarely makes good on it. A.K. and his London flatmates moonlight in the sex trade: He’s a dominatrix, Holly (Holly Weston) is a ballet dancer?turned?stripper, and shy Juliette (Vicky McClure) assists in S&M fantasy sessions. The movie is short on wisdom, but it might have gotten by if it had had better filth. C