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movie review out of 4 Movie Review: Striptease

Starring: Demi Moore, Armand Assante
Director: Andrew Bergman
Rated: R
RunTime: 117 Minutes
Release Date: June 1996
Genres: Drama, Erotica

*Also starring: Burt Reynolds, Ving Rhames, Robert Patrick, Paul Guilfoyle, Jerry Grayson, Rumer Willis, Robert Stanton, William Hill, Stuart Pankin

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows video review
2.  Andrew Hicks read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
½ star out of 4

Every actor and actress has their specialties. For Demi Moore it is her willingness to take large sums of money to play in movies no matter how terrible the script. As proof of this thesis, simply consider her recent bombs at the box office and with the critics. THE SCARLET LETTER and THE JUROR immediately come to mind, but there were probably others. To add to her collection, she reportedly was paid over $12 million dollars to star in STRIPTEASE. In short, it is actually even worse that its title might lead you to believe. It is so bad that one begins to think it must be a parody of something, but what?

In the opening sequence, Erin Grant (Demi Moore) is in court being lectured by a cliche of an unreasonable judge. I am not going to use the word cliche again in this review since it applies to every single character in the show so whenever I talk about a character, just insert the word cliche.

Erin is told that since she does not have a job, she has lost custody of her seven year old daughter Angie (Rumer Willis who is Moore and Bruce Willis's real-life daughter) to her ex-husband. She pleads that she was a secretary at the FBI until recently when they fired her over her husband's dealing drugs. She points out that he, being a drug dealer and user, is not fit to raise a child. His attorney says his client has reformed. The husband is now a paid informant to the drug enforcement authorities. Suspension of disbelieve of this magnitude is impossible. This show raises implausibility to new heights. Yes, I know it is very loosely based on a true story, but as shown in this film, I do not buy a minute of it.

As you have guessed by the title, she takes a job as a stripper in order to make the money and have a job so she can get her kid back. The club she finds is called the "Eager Beaver". Her fellow strippers include one woman who literally has breasts the size of bowling balls. I am not making any this up.

Congressman Davey Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds) and his bodyguard frequent the place as do a lot of other characters. Ving Rhames (MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE) plays a bouncer named Shad who keeps a monkey on his shoulder, and who is not a very good bouncer since he spends his time reading The Wall Street Journal rather than paying attention to business. Also in the show is Armand Assante as Al Garcia.

Now, I know what some of you are thinking. If the movie is bad, at least it will be erotic what with a semiclad Moore and all of those other naked bodies doing stripteases on the screen. Well, forget it. This is one of the least erotic and most distasteful movies to come by in a long time. Remember the energy and love that Jennifer Beals and all of the other dancers put into FLASHDANCE? Well, this show is not that much different but here the dancing/stripping is gritty, demeaning and repulsive.

The film is horribly misdirected by Andrew Bergman. The real travesty however is the script, also by Andrew Bergman and based on the novel by Carl Hiaasen. Like a game of poker where the lowest hand wins, the actors try to outdo each other seeing who can deliver the most pathetic performance. It is a close call, but I think Reynolds beat out Moore. His acting reaches new levels of embarrassment. Once he was an okay actor and then he went downhill - fast.

STRIPTEASE runs 1:55, but it will feel like a millennium. It is rated R for nudity, violence, bad language and sexual situations. I strongly suggest that this film is not suitable for a human being of any age. Avoid this picture like the plague. I am in a generous mood so I will give the film 1/2 of a star for the sweet smile on Rumer Willis's face since she is a dead ringer for my son's good friend Allison.

Copyright 1996 Steve Rhodes

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