Saturday, January 13, 2007

Movie Review: The Full Monty 3 ½ Stars

A spate of lighthearted British comedies glutted the cinema in the Nineties, but standing boarshead-and-porkshoulders above such delightful and eminently non-threatening fare as Brassed Off and Four Weddings and A Funeral is The Full Monty. Director Peter Cattaneo, working from Simon Beaufoy’s script, has managed to create a broad comedy with such wonderful characters that laughing at six middle-aged men and their feeble attempts to dance all sexy-like never seems cheap.

Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and Dave (Mark Addy) are two unemployed steelworkers in the economically-depressed town of Sheffield, barely getting on by selling scrap metal they steal from the closed-down mill. When the Chippendales dancers are in town, performing to a sold-out, standing-room-only barroom full of lasses, Gaz is struck by a brilliant idea. He will put together his own troupe and rake in the dough.

The only trouble is the townsmen are not exactly Chippendales material. Dave is pushing overweight; Lomper is suicidal; Horse’s disco moves are not only dated, they are painful for him to perform; Guy has no moves, you one great, big physical “talent;” and Gerald, the choreographer and former foreman of the mill, only knows from ballroom dancing. Gaz and “Hard Steel” prevail to the delight of the women of Sheffield who are ecstatic that their men now have a reinvigorated sense of self.

There are several laugh-out-loud moments, but mostly this is a quiet film, tragedy often masquerading as comedy and vice versa. The Full Monty is the very definition of a feel-good film.

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