The Full Monty (1997)

Directed by Peter Cattaneo
Written by Simon Beaufoy
Starring Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber, Steve Huison

My Advice: Wait and Rent It.

In the most overly-hyped comedy of last year, a group of laid-off steel workers figure that the Chippendales don't have anything on them and decide to go along with their fearful leader's (Carlyle) scam to give audiences what they want--that's right, flesh and lots of it.

This is a film that tries to mix full-out Brit humor with some deep messages about men trying to get their feelings of self-worth back.  Unfortunately, it's oil and water.  When the movie is funny, it's really funny.  But Cattaneo and Beaufoy let the narrative get bogged down in the additional problems these characters have.  Darling of the film Carlyle gets all the spotlight as a father trying to keep joint custody of his son.  But to me, Mark Addy gives the best and most sympathetic peformance of the show, as a man overly conscious of his slight obesity, who is positive his wife is cheating on him.  A scene where he wraps himself in Saran Wrap because it's rumored to help shed pounds is particularly telling.  But still, just like with the humor, few of the poignant moments hit their mark.  A relationship that develops between the two characters is throwaway, and when one of the characters' relatives die--we never met this character's relative, we don't know anything about them.  We feel bad and all, but the moment still seems forced.  For a good example of what they were trying to do, watch Four Weddings and a Funeral, which managed to be one of the funniest damn movies in a long time, but still had a lot to say about relationships and love--and had a funeral scene that worked.  There's a lot to like about Monty, some great moments and great interaction between characters.  But there's an awful lot of dead space where you wish more of that was happening.

Buy the DVD from Amazon!
Buy the Broadway musical's soundtrack from Amazon!
Buy the soundtrack from Amazon!
Buy the book about the musical from Amazon!
Buy the book from Amazon!
Buy The Full Monty Handbook from Amazon!

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