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Striptease (1996)

DVD Cover (Warner Brother)
Genres / Traits:
Comedy, Satire, Strippers
Director:
Andrew Bergman Andrew Bergman
Starring:
Demi Moore Demi Moore
Burt Reynolds Burt Reynolds
Armand Assante Armand Assante
Ving Rhames Ving Rhames
Robert Patrick Robert Patrick

4.4 / 10 - Overall Rating

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Erin Grant loses custody of her child to her deadbeat ex-husband after losing her job. To make the money she needs to appeal the verdict, she takes a job at ''The Eager Beaver'', a local strip bar. She unwittingly gets caught up in the fetishes, fantasies, and felonies of various patrons, including an ambitious bouncer, the sleazy club owner, underworld figures, and an United States Congressman. --IMDb
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Review by bluemeanie
Added: July 20, 2007
Following the success of the film "Showgirls" (or should I say lack thereof), director Andrew Bergman ("It Could Happen to You", "The Freshman", "Honeymoon In Vegas") decided to stray from what he had done so well and create one of the most odd and confusing motion pictures of the 1990's, the utterly random "Striptease". It was all hype and all buzz. Why? Because Demi Moore flashed it all on camera, just like "Saved By the Bell" star Elizabeth Berkley did in "Showgirls". However, "Striptease" was billed as a classier, more humorous approach to the whole 'whore scenario' than the raunchy and disgusting "Showgirls". It was mainstream porn...with class.

Demi Moore stars as Erin Grant, a devoted mother who loses custody of her daughter after a bitter divorce from her ex-husband (Robert Patrick). In order to afford legal assistance in the case, she takes a job as a dancer at The Eager Beaver, a local strip bar. There, she can make far more money than she ever could at her previous job and she is subjected to a host of interesting characters, including the bouncer, Shad (Ving Rhames) and the very horny Congressman Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds). One night, Dilbeck attacks a patron of The Eager Beaver and then a scheme is hatched to blackmail the Congressman to get Erin enough money to win her daughter back. Armand Assante co-stars as Lieutenant Al Garcia, who is on the case (so to speak).

Rated-R and extremely sexual and lude, "Striptease" is really a film about family. No, I'm being serious. The film wants to be an over-the-top comedy (evident by Burt Reynolds character -- "It's vasoline. I can feel it squishing between my toes."), an astute family drama and somewhat of a thriller. It tries to mix all of those elements into one motion picture, but that just doesn't work. As a comedy, the film worked. As a thriller, maybe. But the human drama is lost with all of the absurdity. Plus, you have this little girl being subjected to all of these people and all of these situations -- you start to think she really might be better off with the Robert Patrick character. Most of the real charm in the film (for me) came in the relationship between Demi Moore's character and the bouncer. Their relationship is explored more than any of the others, and it's actually very sweet to watch.

Despite the film's shortcomings, some of the performances are memorable. Demi Moore does what she can with the role. She has the talent and the body -- and she is leaps and bounds better than Elizabeth Berkley. She just looks like she wishes she was in a better film. Burt Reynolds delivers a very humorous supporting performance as the sleazy Congressman, and Robert Patrick is in all his supporting actor glory as Moore's even sleazier former husband, who now has custody of their daughter. Armand Assante is miscast in his role, but Ving Rhames helps bring up the curve as the silent bouncer with the heart of gold. The performances are actually solid enough that you start to forget all of the absurdity and schlock that you're watching unfold on the screen, at times.

My suggestion -- pick a genre and stick with it. The drama is too melo, the comedy is too few and far between and the thrills just don't add up to much. "Striptease" works -- but only on occasion. 6/10.
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