The Full Monty

UK - 1997

Movie Review By Andrea Chase

Desperate times call for desperate measures and times could not be more desperate for the unlikely heroes of the quirky comedy, "The Full Monty," a film about economics, sexual politics and g-strings. Not the musical kind.

Life ain't sweet for the members of the Sheffield job club. Still unemployed six months after their factory shuts down, they've stopped hoping for things to get better. To add insult to injury, the Chippendales come to town with their unique brand of undressed entertainment, driving their womenfolk wild and making the guys feel completely useless. Until one them, Gaz, learns just how much money the Chippendales made.

He launches a crusade to put on his own strip show, featuring local talent, or as he puts it, real men. It's an uphill battle, but the money means more than solvency to him, it means keeping joint custody of his son, so Gaz is not a man to take no for an answer. He recruits the old, the fat, the skinny, and the uncoordinated by offering them the chance to rise up, grab life by the short hairs and mold it to their liking. Or at least make a few bucks in the short term. And this is the film's delicious irony -- they regain their self-esteem by taking off their clothes. Which isn't to say they don't suffer the comedic agonies of the damned when it sinks in that once on stage, they cease being people and start being objects. Their cute personalities won't mean squat. That's the nice thing about this film. It tempers the absurdity of its premise its serious underlying issues.

The full monty is brit-speak for taking it all off, but never mind whether our intrepid lads do or don't. The real point of this amiable, well-acted story is finding friendship and pride in the most unlikely of ways.

© 1997 Andrea Chase Air Date: 8/20/97

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