The basic story of this film is very simple, a group of unemployed steel workers in Sheffield in England decide to try to raise money by performing for one night only as male strippers.
Beyond that, there is so much more.
First of all, the film is very very funny. The sight of a group of men of dubious attraction and in varying stages of unfitness trying to become a dancing & stripping troupe is just the start. Side stories like the theft of garden gnomes and the act of offering to fix a man's car so that he can gas himself are classic examples of off-beat British humour.
There is also a lot of warm human interest in this film. We see the relationship between Gaz (Robert Carlyle) and his son and his ex-wife. Also, the relationships between his friends and their wives.
In all cases, the men had lost self respect and, through the act of former workmates getting together again and making new work for themselves they recaptured their self respect, regain the respect of others and most importantly to them, they realise that they are important to their friends and families.
Often films with such a lot of fun and feel good factor leave me feeling that they are too sickly sweet and aim at some lowest common denominator. This was not like that at all, I enjoyed every minute of it.
I first saw this at the cinema and I have never before seen such a happy audience at the end of a film.
*** This review may contain spoilers ***
When male strip show act, The Chippendales, come to Sheffield and the local women pay in their droves to see the show, Gaz and the rest of his unemployed pals pick up on an idea to make some cash. A one off show where they themselves will strip on the stage, the difference being that this lot will go for the "Full Monty", totally naked dancing!
The Full Monty is a very winning comedy, it's preposterous in premise of course, but in amongst the frivolity and outright daftness, lies a very clever, and functional tale of personal relationships. In spite of what some American reviewers have said over the years, the picture is awash with very funny gags, it's just perhaps that the untrained none British eye isn't seeing the jokes? For instance, during the famous dole queue dancing sequence, have a look at the guy standing behind Tom Wilkinson, who after witnessing Wilkinson do his Fred Astaire act, merely puffs out his cheeks and carries on waiting his turn! It's little touches like that that say so much about the divide between British and American comedy.
As I alluded to earlier, The Full Monty isn't just a comedy about unsightly men doing a strip tease. We have a group of men who each strive for something in their lives, be it strains at home or sexual identity, these guys are given sensitive emotional themes from which to regain some dignity. If there is a criticism here then it would have been nice to give the female characters a bit more flesh on their bones, but this really is about the boys after all. Backed up by a foot tapping soundtrack and boasting excellent performances from the cast, The Full Monty is a hugely enjoyable picture that rewards on repeat viewings, just keep your eyes peeled for sight gags you may have missed the last time is all. 8/10
It opens with battered-looking promo footage waffling on about England and the wealth and prosperity Steel has brought it. "Sheffield Is A City On The Move!" - the plumy-voiced commentator enthuses. "Millions flock here...browsing in its shops! The jewel in Yorkshire's Northern Crown!" But then the cheesy music and his 1970's confidence fade away...
It's 25 years later - and Gary 'Gaz' Schofield and David 'Dave' Horsefall (Robert Carlyle and Mark Addy) are on their way home from an unsuccessful plunder run in the disused Steel Works Factory they were employed in ten years earlier (stealing £20 girders to pay maintenance money). They see a huge queue of local lasses excitedly waiting outside the Millthorpe Working Men's Club to see a strip gig by a visiting male troupe - The Chippendales. These six-pack dancing lotharios will be there 'For One Night Only' - all buffed up, covered in Johnson's baby oil and wearing tiny detachable red leather sarongs around their presumably mighty nether regions. "Waving his tackle at your missus!" Gaz ruminates to Dave - appalled and amazed at such a thought. But back at the Job Club (which never has any jobs) - Gaz and his mates calculate that at £10 per punter - times a thousand screaming girlies - that's a lot of wonga that our unemployed Sex Gods don't have stuffed down into their well manky Marks & Spencer Y-Fronts.
To make matters worse - Gaz's son Nathan (William Snape) is with his ex-wife Mandy (the lovely Emily Woof) who is shacking up with a 'decent' man - Alan. Alan has a job (Dave Hill), a home and can afford the £700 a month it costs to raise a child. Besides - although he loves him - young Nate is tired of Dad's excuses, scams and getting by. Gaz now knows that he will need to pull out all the stops to keep his son - but he also twigs that in order to outdo the muscle-bound competition - he and his crew of Little and Large lookalikes (who call themselves HOT METAL) will have to pull out a bit more than a stop - they'll need to get their entire kit off - and do The Full Monty. An idea is planted, secret striptease practice begins in living rooms and disused warehouses to Hot Chocolate's "You Sexy Thing" - and soon a lithesome pep is returned to their disco-dancing step...
When "The Full Monty" was released into British cinemas in 1997 - it took the country by storm. It was brutally funny, topically apt and down to earth. And despite its dark back-story about the sapping effect of unemployment - it was properly uplifting in a way that only ballsy English comedy can be. But most of all - it had what the British Government has never had - genuine heart.
So many scenes in this film are gigglesome funny - the striptease to "Je T'Aime...Moi Non Plus" by a man about as sexy as an Orang-Utan picking his nose, discussing ways of effectively killing yourself after they've saved the ginger-haired wimp Lomper (Steve Hulson) from gassing himself in his clapped-out Cortina, their former Foreman and Boss Gerald (a stunning turn by Tom Wilkinson) worrying about getting a stiffy in front of 400 women like he did when he was a kid of 13 in a swimming pool full of teenage girls, the ageing black man Horse (Paul Barber) bemoaning the lack of results from a penis-pump in a red telephone box, Guy (Hugo Speer) dropping his pants and revealing his ample dangler ("The lunchbox has landed!"), the boys swaying their hips and behinds to Donna Summer's "Hot Stuff" as the dole queue shuffles forward...
But then it touches you too - cooking a curry on a hot engine head because they're broke and hungry, the girls using the men's toilets at the Chippendales gig when Dave's wife Jean (Lesley Sharp) stops laughing and says of her husband "It's like he's given up...work...me...everything..." But especially when Lomper's aging Mum dies and he plays the trumpet at her funeral accompanied by The British Steel Stockbridge Brass Band to a truly gorgeous version of "Abide With Me" (not a dry eye in the house).
Having watched the DVD before the BLU RAY - I'm thrilled to say that the picture quality is vastly improved. It's beautiful - and that's not something you'd say of a film like this (it was never meant to be a looker). There isn't a scratch or a speck to be seen and the steadiness of the image and the extra oomph in the mix allows both the picture and music to punch way above its weight (a top transfer).
The Extras are pleasingly indepth - Two Commentaries - one by Director Peter Cattaneo and Actor Mark Addy- the other by Principal Producer Uberto Pasolini. There are 1998 interviews with actors Robert Carlyle, Mark Addy, Hugo Speer, Paul Barber, Steve Hulson and even a very young William Snape beside himself to have gotten the child gig. There are Deleted Scenes, nearly 15 different trailers in various publicity campaigns, a function called "Music Machine" that allows you play one or all of the songs featured in the film, Derek Malcolm interviews with Producer Uberto Pasolini and Backer Lindsay Law (of Fox Searchlight), Director Peter Cattaneo, Writer Simon Beaufoy and actor Tom Wilkinson. There's even stuff of the aftermath of the film and its success.
AUDIO is English 5.1 DTS-HD, Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian 5.1 DTS, Castellano 5.1 DTS. SUBTITLES are English For The Deaf and Hard Of Hearing, Portuguese, Castellano, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. Coding is ABC so all regions.
Mark Addy's character is Dave - the plumpest of the bunch and the most embarrassed about his body shape. In front of his wife - he breaks down and admits his fears - "Well look at me! Janey - who wants to see 'this' dance?" She tenderly steps up to him, puts her hands on his face and says - "Me Dave. I do."
"The Full Monty" is a fabulous film - just as funny and as moving as you remember it. It received 4 Academy Nominations in 1998 including Best Film - and now in 2013 - it finally has the format to do it proud.
I take my hat off to it...
Six men who were laid off when their Yorkshire steel mill closed are desperate for money. When a one-night Chippendales show comes to town and is a big hit, they decide to make their own strip show, and to make it more interesting, they'll go completely nude! The men are neither big and buff nor good dancers, but they put their hearts into preparing for the big night.
This absolutely charming comedy has many touching moments, thanks to the well-developed and sympathetic characters we come to know: One is a divorced dad (Robert Carlyle) who needs to raise child support money, one is an overweight and depressed husband (Mark Addy), one cares for his aging mum, and one (Tom Wilkinson) hasn't had the nerve to tell his credit card-happy wife that he's been unemployed for six months. All of the actors are perfectly cast and it's worth the price just to see the venerable Wilkinson bump and grind to "Hot Stuff."
Gritty location photography and a lively, Oscar-winning disco soundtrack help create the mood of despair giving way to hope. The North country accents and slang are sometimes unintelligible, but that in no way detracts from the fun. This fast-paced and sweet film made with a tiny budget went on to break UK box office records. Highly recommended.
on 28 June 2002
The Full Monty is a "right good laff" (to borrow the parlance of its protagonists). Although the dialect may occasionally bewilder viewers unused to north-England speech, the humour doesn't need any translation. Gaz is down on his luck and is possessed of an endless supply of far-fetched money-making schemes. Inspired with a visit by the renowned Chippendale male strip-show artists to his hometown of Sheffield, and impressed at the huge amounts of money they make by seemingly just taking off their clothes and prancing around a bit, Gaz decides this is his ticket to some fast cash.
Part of the reason this film is likeable is that humour and realism go hand in hand. From the depressing backdrop of an industrial town with high unemployment, Gaz manages to cobble together a troupe of six unlikely strippers, including a suicidal security worker, a man with a dodgy hip, and a well-endowed bathroom repairman. These guys aren't super-studs, they're just ordinary blokes who are willing to give it a shot, and maybe, just maybe, get rich.
The film begins with Gaz and his friend Dave becoming marooned on a partially submerged car in the middle of a canal (the unanticipated result of one Gaz's plans), and the originality of the comedy continues throughout. So fresh is the humour, that the occasional moments when it sinks to the level of slapstick and cliché, disrupt the natural feel of the movie. The funniest sequences involve the self-titled 'Hot Metal' strippers - who have trouble comprehending dance moves unless they're related to positioning on a soccer field - attempting to master the strip-tease bump and grind (accompanied by a fabulous soundtrack of retro tunes, including Donna Summer and Hot Chocolate).
This is a warm and funny, typically British film. It looks at a group of men who, in desperation to earn some cash, decide to perform a strip routine in the local club. Although the main story is their hilarious preparation for their Full Monty act, it's the side stories that really make this film, watching how the group interact with each other and with their families, Gaz and Dave are two of my favourite ever characters.
This film is a prime example of what Britain does so much better than any of the American blockbusters, a film with heart that isn't slushy and is hilarious to watch time and again without being ridiculous. The trend in Hollywood at the moment seems to be towards geeks as the main stars in films, this must be the film that started the trend
Walking through Sheffield last week I passed the job centre with a group of friends, we couldn't resist standing in a line and doing the dance from the dole queue. I'd like to say we were a group of drunken females on our way home, but no, a mixed group (in age as well as gender) who were embarrassingly sober.
on 24 May 2013
Excellent british film about redundant steel workers. It's a real mix of life and laughs, ups and downs of their daily lives. A good cast and well written. Gives an insight into how it probably was for a lot of the families that did have it hard after the steel works closed down. Robert Carlyle plays a man who thinks he could be ' The Chippendale ' of sheffield, and decides he and his mates are gonna make money on a one off strip show. There is areally good bit, as they are standing in the dole office one of the songs they are going to strip to gets played over the speakers,and they all start to wiggle their hips to it!!!
They were not prepared for how many people bought tickets! Really good.
on 20 October 2012
A bunch of losers down at the Job Center have no hopes of getting a job. As the film progresses, it picks up momentum as the big date approaches. Some great scenes of 80's Britain, the Job Center, the clubs, the houses with paper-thin walls and low ceilings. You know what the finale is going to be, but it doesn't detract at all from the enjoyment of the film. It doesn't get political, but why should it? This is about the consequences of 80's Britain, not the causes. The characters are 100% believable, in their appearances and their behaviour. The fat one is the sort you see on a Saturday night in just about every city center pub and at the football matches too!
on 19 July 2009
I just finished reviewing "Brassed Off", and here we have another perfect example on how a movie should be made.
"The Full Monty" seems to be in a line with "Brassed Off" and explores even further the destinies of people in Industrial Towns, being massively laid off, without hope, without a future, without money, while others manage to make large profits out of these situations.
Above all, more than the industries themselves, politicians and unions.
Just those kind of people, who had sworn to represent us and protect us from infringements of the law...
But this movie goes a step further.
It shows us, like "Brassed Off", that if people get together and re-invent themselves, they might even get through the hard times,
despite all the social and financial pressures of life.
Both movies are a message of hope.
"The Full Monty" sports very familiar faces to British and International audiences. First of all Robert "007" Carlyle. This very interesting actor has managed in a few years to get on center stage by his charisma and versatile acting.
He leads a bunch of laid off people into a life adventure of its own, and this, with surprising results.
This special edition (2-Disc) of the movie is well worth the money, since it contains a lot of unseen footage.
As for "Brassed Off", I can only recommend it.
It is a thinking man's movie.
on 5 February 2015
Back in 1997, I was an undergraduate in my adopted city of Sheffield. The news that a new film based and filmed in Sheffield was being released, was more than enough to get me to the local fleapit, where I witnessed the trials and tribulations of six redundant steelworkers, who had hatched a crazy plan to become strippers and make their fortunes. Watching the film 18 years later on DVD felt something like opening a 1990s time-capsule; however I think it’s fair to say that Peter Cattaneo’s zeitgeist-capturing British comedy has aged pretty well, although it does feel slightly creaky in places. Interestingly too, many of the cast have disappeared in the intervening years, with the exception of Mark Addy – still nailing bluff cove roles in fantasy drama, Tom Wilkinson, and Lesley Sharp; surprisingly, the film’s main star Robert Carlyle is rarely to be seen on stage or screen these days. It's slight, but good fun, and for a Sheffielder there's great fun to be had watching out for recognisable places, such as those terrible flats in Hillsborough, and the scruffy old Blake pub on Blake Street.