Tuesday, January 22, 2008

The Full Monty


The Full Monty; Tragicomedy, UK, 1997; D: Peter Cattaneo, S: Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, Tom Wilkinson, Steve Huison, William Snape, Paul Barber, Hugo Speer

Sheffield, UK. The high unemployment rate hasn't spared Gaz and Dave who lost their job in the steel industry. That's a big problem for Gaz since his ex-wife wants to take his son away from him. The two of them accidentally spot how male strippers, the Chippendales, attract a mass of women who even pay 10 Pounds for an entrance, so they decide to organize something like that themselves. With friend Gerald, who will choreograph their dance, they hire three more candidates, all not especially attractive, and decide to strip "to the end". At their first show they get arrested by the police, but their second performance becomes a big hit.

Optimistic and bittersweet social tragicomedy "The Full Monty" creatively mixed the themes of unemployment and stripping, winning 3 BAFTA awards, including best film. Actually, at moments it seems as if it's a reaction to all those movies and commercials where female nudity is used to attract the audience, since it turns the concept upside down and shows male nudity to attract the audience for a change, which it did with smashing success. Of course, the director Peter Cattaneo decided not to show too much but just to announce the 'highlight' all the time, causing the protagonist only to strip twice during the whole film, but as a whole the story is fun and vibrant, showing how one can escape from a bleak reality. Some important questions were handled rather bluntly, like when Dave and Gerald ask themselves if their reputation will crash in town after the striptease night, but the movie doesn't offer any easy answers and some details were rather bizarre (the short homoerotic moment between Guy and Lomper that is never elaborated; a woman trying to urinate standing up to make her friend laugh). Still, it's a fresh and energetic little film with a few very good gags (Gaz comes to a queue of women waiting to enter the Chippendales and says: "Waiting for me?").

Grade:++

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