Movie Review: Striptease (1996)
“It ain’t “Showgirls”…then again, it ain’t “Snow White” either!”
Director: Andrew Bergman
Cast: Demi Moore, Burt Reynolds, Armand Assante
Synopsis: A single mother is forced to work as a stripper in order to finance her bid to keep custody of her daughter.
While Andrew Bergman’s adaptation fails to capture the essence of Carl Hiaasen’s satirical novel, Striptease is nevertheless nowhere near as bad as its reputation suggests. Demi Moore, whose career was already on a downward slide judging by the number of times she bares her breasts, plays a mother who is forced to work in a strip joint to earn the income necessary to fight for custody of her daughter, the care of whom a condescending judge has awarded to her low-life husband (Robert Patrick – Terminator 2: Judgment Day, Gangster Squad). While on the job, she catches the eye of a sleazy senator (Burt Reynolds – Pocket Listing, Hollow Creek) who is prepared to go to any odds to have her perform a private dance.
While it’s fair to say that Striptease completely botches the satirical aspects of Hiaasen’s story, it still manages to provide an absorbing tale after an undeniably shaky start. The nudity isn’t as in your face as you’d expect, and in fact becomes almost incidental as the story moves along. The cast are all reasonably good, with Reynolds and Patrick in particular standing out: Reynold’s character could have been something of a classic had it been toned down a little – although he’s still likable in a sleazy sort of way, he’s just too downright weird for the audience to take to him completely. Patrick’s low-life husband is also likable despite his failings, and Patrick works hard to make him this way. His drunken intrusion into the senator’s long-awaited private dance with a cheery ‘evenin’ party-goers’ is a killer. Ving Rhames (Pulp Fiction, Mission Impossible – Rogue Nation) also scores as an outwardly surly bouncer with a soft spot for all the girls in his charge.
In a way, Striptease’s poor reputation gives it something of an advantage: you come into it expecting very little, so the fact that it’s got an engrossing – if far-fetched plot – works in its favour. Worth a try if you’re in the mood.
(reviewed 26th November 2011)