A and A's Movie A Day

Watching movies until we run out.

Movie 198 – The Full Monty

The Full Monty – September 14th, 2010

It’s been ages since I put this in. There’s no particular reason. I really enjoy this movie and it’s full of a lot of fun bits. There’s good music, good acting and six bare male butts (and some banana hammock action). It inspired Warwick Davis and his father-in-law to put together The Half Monty, a little person show that Davis claims did quite well (even if the cast did question his booking choices once or twice). It deals with some serious stuff in with the funny stuff. There’s humor and okay, some of it is definitely comedy of embarrassment. But it’s okay! There’s something about it that makes the cringing worth it. In all honesty, I’m not sure why I haven’t put it in for so long. No good reason. It was even still in its wrapping, so even though we’d both seen this, we’ve apparently not watched it together since at least when I was in college.

Going into this movie for the first time, the only actor I recognized was Robert Carlyle, and the only thing I’d seen him in was Trainspotting as the psychopathic Begbie (making his line in this movie about looking like a killer all the funnier). As Gaz, out of work and late in his child support payments to his ex-wife, Carlyle is far and away a different man than I’d seen him play before. Along with his friend Dave, Gaz has come down to stealing girders from the old steel mill to make a little cash. He’s well behind in his payments, has no job prospects, and is desperate to keep the contact he has with his son, Nathan. Dave is out of work too, but things don’t seen quite so dire financially. Instead he’s depressed, having decided he’s not really worth much of anything, leading to a growing distance between himself and his wife. Gaz lights upon the idea of stripping to get some quick cash. Him and Dave. Of course they’ll need a few others.

They save the lonely Lomper from committing suicide and recruit him because he has a car and a place to rehearse. They recruit their old foreman, Gerald, because he can dance. They hold auditions for more and get themselves Horse, an older gentleman who’s certainly the most talented dancer of the bunch (and they do all wonder why he’s called Horse), and Guy. Guy can’t dance. Guy can’t sing. But Guy is young, hot and apparently hung. And so the group is set and the rest of the movie follows the guys as they rehearse, bicker, talk about costumes, try to score a place to perform and attempt to go about their ordinary lives without letting on what they’re doing.

You know, when you think about it, this is really a depressing movie in places. It’s hilarious in parts, but well, only one of the group has a job, and it’s not a very good one. Gaz is in danger of losing what contact he has with his son. Dave’s marriage is crumbling and his wife is desperate to figure out how to save it. Gerald’s been lying to his wife for six months, letting her go on spending and planning holidays and pinning his hopes on getting a job before she needs to know. Lomper’s taking care of his elderly mother and until he met Gaz and Dave felt like he had no mates at all. Guy and Horse seem to be okay in the personal life department, but both had clearly reached the bottom of the barrel by the time they auditioned for Gaz, Dave, Lomper and Gerald. The picture painted of the movie’s setting, Sheffield, is a bleak one. And yet the movie’s a hopeful one in amongst the humor and the bleakness.

Aside from the obvious humor of these five “regular” guys stripping in their home town and all the funny moments that part provides, what I love about the movie is seeing this group of guys really become mates and work together. They show up at Gerald’s and chat (more about that in a moment), but what really struck me about it was when Gerald’s wife finds out and Gerald shows up at Gaz’s flat with a bag of his things in hand. These were guys who started out loathing each other and almost come to blows more than once in the beginning. When the group gets arrested for indecent exposure (you knew that had to happen) there are some great moments where they critique each other’s dancing on security tape footage while two of the group race off in their G-strings, hopping garden walls and climbing through windows. When Lomper’s mother passes away the whole group comes to the funeral. And once the cat is out of the bag, so to speak, it’s fun to see the reactions of the people around the guys.

Of course, as I said, there’s plenty of humor. There are loads of throwaway lines and funny looks between the guys. Guy’s insistence on trying to run up a wall, like in Singin’ In the Rain, when he’s not at all able to. Dave shoplifting Flashdance. Dave’s reaction to the welding in Flashdance. Horse’s explanation of how the group needs to move while dancing. It’s all very funny. There’s a scene where they’re all waiting for their dole checks and Hot Stuff comes on the radio and suddenly they’re all dancing in line. It’s maybe a two minute scene and there’s no dialogue, but it’s one of the funniest moments in a movie full of funny moments.

There’s a moment where the guys talk about how they’re worried the women who come to see them will laugh at them. Call them names or insult their bodies. Dave points out that none of them think about a woman’s personality when they’re critiquing her tits. Gerald states that “fat is a feminist issue” but can’t explain what that means. It’s played for laughs, yes, but I found it to be an interesting note for the movie to make. I hadn’t really expected the movie to address double standards at all, but there it is. Not that it goes far in depth, and it does tend a bit towards “but what about the MEN?!”, but I was pleased to see it.

So really, while it’s a lighthearted movie overall, with plenty of raunchy humor and naked bums, there are some thoughtful pieces of dialogue and acting here and there. There are some plot threads left unfinished, making it clear that the point of the movie is the stripping, not the family matters. But for all that it’s a good, funny movie and would probably be worth watching even if it wasn’t just for the end.

September 14, 2010 - Posted by | daily reviews | , ,

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