The Full Monty

Newcity Chicago

DIRECTED BY: Peter Cattaneo

REVIEWED: 10-27-97

Local zeroes make good. A hilarious treat, "The Full Monty" is a directorial debut of rare confidence. Cattaneo, an old hand at British television comedy and short films, has turned what sounds like terminally jokey material into something quite wonderful, a deadpan comedy of character that plays like a sparkling successor to the best moments of Bill Forsyth's comic work. I had avoided seeing the movie at Sundance because of its reported plot -- unemployed steelworkers in Sheffield in the north of England turn to Chippendale's-style stripping to make money. Robert Carlyle, wonderfully different from his threatening Begbie character in "Trainspotting," hatches the plot only after we've seen both comic and touching illustrations of the depths of anguish in the lives of each of his pals. Stripping in front of every woman in town becomes a comic metaphor for mad, fucked desperation. Along the way, each of the half-dozen men hesitates according to their own eccentric logic, and the language is a cloud of comic slang.

--Ray Pride

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