Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


THE FULL MONTY (1997) Director: Peter Cattaneo.

It's easy to see why this likable movie with some semi-serious undertones became a big hit. Admittedly, it gets off to an inauspicious debut, introducing us to a couple of losers in a small British town, one of whom has a small boy he's in danger of losing contact with. To make extra money – and having noticed how big a sell-out the Chippendale's male strippers were at the local club -- he comes up with the idea of taking a bunch of ordinary fellows in this impoverished working class hamlet and putting on their own strip-tease act, going the Chippendale's boys one better by doing “the full monty” -- showing what they got in full. The picture borders on losing all credibility – don't these guys realize that the Chippendale's dancers with their muscular bodies and handsome faces are fantasy objects for women who want to see something different from their husbands' pot bellies? – but somehow their struggle to pull together an unlikely dance troupe and overcome their individual insecurities begins to interest and take hold of the viewer. In its own way the film deals with the fact that this generation, like no other before, has turned men into full-fledged “sex objects,” that ordinary men now have to compare themselves with these “hunks” the way women have had to deal with airbrushed playboy bunnies and Kewpie doll images for decades. And it isn't that unrealistic that the women in town would be good sports and show up to root for these fellows in their oddball moment of “triumph.” No, this isn't a “great” movie nor is it a true classic, but it is unusual and quite entertaining. Very well-acted by a terrific ensemble cast.

Verdict: Fun and different. ***.

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