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The Full Monty (1997)

Six men with nothing to lose, but do they dare to lose everything?

Directed by:

Peter Cattaneo

Rating: 8/10

Running Time: 88 minutes

UK Certificate: 15

On DVD

Country: United Kingdom

Robert Carlyle is Gaz, an unemployed man living in Sheffield. Once the home of a massive steel industry, Sheffield is now full of closed steel mills and unemployed steelworkers. Gaz desperately needs money to make support payments to his ex-wife for his son Nathan (William Snape) or he will lose visitation rights. One day, Gaz and his friend Dave (Mark Addy) stumble upon a touring male strip show and discover that it is very popular with the local women. To Gaz, it seems like an easy way to make a lot of money, and he decides to set up a troupe of strippers of his own. Unfortunately, they can’t dance and as physical specimens they leave much to be desired – Dave in particular is flabby and lacks self-esteem.

Gaz and Dave recruit their former mill boss Gerald (Tom Wilkinson) to join them because he can dance, even if it is ballroom rather than modern. Gerald has his own problems, not only is he also unemployed, but he hasn’t dared to tell his wife and is trying to maintain the illusion of their previous lifestyle with no income. After an audition to recruit more unemployed workers to join their group, including a man with a bad hip and a well-endowed bathroom fitter, they start their rehearsals and book a club to perform in. But in order to beat the professional strip group that recently passed through their neighbourhood, they will have to go one further – the ‘full monty’ or total nudity. And unfortunately, circumstances and self-consciousness threaten to derail the whole show.

This gentle and touching comedy built around the hardships of life in the depressed north of England is full of both pathos and inspiration. The bleakness of the Sheffield landscape serves to show the barrenness of the unemployed men’s lives, and acts as a backdrop to the optimism symbolised by the glamour of a strip show. All the characters are well-played and well-directed, with Robert Carlyle pulling off a fine performance as Gaz, although it would have been nice to see more on the motivations of the newly-auditioned strippers that join the group. The situation will be familiar to everyone who has ever been unemployed, but the message of hope for those who are creative and determined enough is unmistakable.

Features a great soundtrack with music from artists such as Donna Summer, Gary Glitter, Sister Sledge, Tom Jones, Hot Chocolate, Wilson Pickett and Irene Cara.

It's Got: Amusing characters and an unashamedly entertaining plot.

It Needs: A little more background to some of the characters.

DVD Extras Just a trailer with this basic single-disc release. DVD Extras Rating: 1/10

Alternatives:

Billy Elliot, Flashdance., Peter's Friends

Summary

Touching and funny British film featuring wonderful characters and a unique story. Not to be missed.

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