It's a tired statement but it sticks. 1997 has been such a bad year
involving big budget films that have fallen flat on their faces that an
entertaining film made for scale such as 'The Full Monty' is a certified
comedy gem with some important dramatic overtones. What is so striking about
this film is that it's nothing like you would excpect. It's about male
strippers but contains absolutely nothing of a sexually provocative nature.
Set in England, it's basically about six men who find work as exotic dancers
and the story builds to the climactic scene which asks 'Will they or won't
they'? Take it all off, that is. It centres primarily on three leads,
Robert Carlyle (Begbie from 'Trainspotting') Tom Wilkinson ('Priest') and
Mark Addy. The three of them used to work together in the steel industry but
are now unemployed looking to improve their lives. What's interesting is
that Carlyle and Addy are best friends and Wilkinson used to be their boss so
they now must come to terms that they're all in the same boat sometimes
rocking it a little too hard.
The comedy is leisurely presented and the movie contains the type of shrewd
wit often desired but hardly ever seen. The rehearsal scenes in preparation
for the big show are hilarious as the men don't have an ounce of go-go
ability and the physical comedy is presented perfectly as a well timed string
of gags. But along the way 'The Full Monty' does more than that. It also
combines the main story with some touching moments of reality involving
Carlyle's struggle in presenting himself as a role model to his young son who
finds the growing pains in a life of borderline poverty more than a struggle.
Director Peter Cattaneo illustrates his movie by slowly drawing the audience
in to a film which has excellent character development, medium pacing and a
genuinely good nature to it. See it with friends. It is an audience picture
that like a good television sitcom, sells better with a natural laugh track.
Copyright © 1997 Walter Frith