Copyright © 1997. All Rights Reserved.
Full frontal funny
The Full Monty shows us how it's done.
by Robert Tarry
The Full Monty
directed by Peter Cattaneo
starring Robert Carlyle, Tom Wilkinson, Mark Addy
Opens Friday, September 19
By some gift of the broadcast gods I managed to catch The Commitments, free of charge and free of every "fooke" and "shite" just an hour before I sat down to write this review of The Full Monty
Which is handy, since every gushing critic in the world seems to be comparing these two charming films, both set in run-down working class cities (one in Dublin, Ireland the other Sheffield, England), both featuring a terrific ensemble cast of unknowns chasing a wild scheme to make it rich in show business, and both laced with accents thicker than the head on a tall pint o' Guinness. But really, that's where the similarity ends.
To put it simply, The Full Monty is better. Far better.
Where The Commitments was a fish-out-of-water fairy tale (what if kids today learned to play James Brown? Fuh-ny!), The Full Monty exudes unforced, genuine charm the way everybody wishes they could. Here's the secret: it's a perfectly casual and casually perfect sense of comic timing, mixed with an unswerving belief that what you're doing is funny, even when stretched over a few sad scenes. Some might balk at this - Waiter? I didn't order this pathos! -but you know what? Screw them. They probably liked The Cable Guy.
It's a ballsy feeling of "No, America, actually, this is funny. Got it?"
It's about a bunch of over-the-hill, out-of-work steel workers who decide to earn a few extra quid as male strippers - but unlike those Chippendales tossers, they don't stop when they reach the Speedos, but offer 'The Full Monty.'
But that's just the end. Director Peter Cattaneo and co. have a ball with the build-up, and by the time the players take the stage for the big night, the actors could've fallen flat on their faces and we'd still love them.
As it is, we cheer (literally). And laugh. At a comedy. Go figure. All the way through the end of the credits. All the way out of the theatre. All the way into the parking lot, giggling to ourselves like twits, fumbling for our keys like a bunch of wankers.
Now that's funny.
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