August 8, 2011

Queer Review: The Full Monty (1997)

The Full Monty
Director: Peter Cattaneo
Writer: Simon Beaufoy
Cast: Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, William Snape, Steve Huison, Tom Wilkinson, Paul Barber, Hugo Speer, Lesley Sharp

What is the one way that The Full Monty could have been better? If it had actually gone the full monty with the gay romance. As it is, this is an oddly delightful comedy about being unemployed. I think there may be a few people in this day and age who could relate to that.

When the steel factories close down in Sheffield, England, the former workers find themselves unemployed and desperate for a remedy. When one ex-worker, Gaz (Robert Carlyle) witnesses the Chippendales performing he gets an idea to raise some cash. Soon 5 others have joined him. Dave the Fat Basterd (Mark Addy), marching band member Lomper (Steve Huison), their former Forman Gerard (Tom Wilkinson), the one among them who can actually dance Horse (Paul Barber), and the extremely well hung Guy (Hugo Speer). However, to beat the Chippendales at their own show, this gang might have to go the full monty.

The Queering
The Full Monty does not have any thematic depth, well developed characters, or probing insight into human nature. What it does do, is offer up a genuinely funny comedy about guys getting naked in front of a live audience. This of course leads to the question of why male nudity is more often used in movies for humor, compared to female nudity, but that is an issue for another day.

However, there is a low key romance between two of the men, Lomper and Guy, that is used as background material. The only thing I wished though, was that the filmmakers had chosen to go the full monty with this element. No, I do not mean showing the audience the characters having sex, but a kiss or two would have been nice in addition to the few shots of them holding hands.

The best performances belong to Mark Addy as the insecure Dave and Tom Wilkinson as the downsized foreman, unable to bring himself to tell his wife that he no longer has a job. Robert Carlyle also gives a high energy performance as Gaz, a man fighting with his wife to retain custody of his only child.

Other than that, there is little more for me to say, other then that The Full Monty is a light breezy affair that is fun to watch and does not leave an unpleasant after-taste.


The Rating


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