Sunday, November 23, 2014

STRIPTEASE (1996)



Written & Directed By: Andrew Bergman 
Based On The Book By: Carl Hiaasen 
Cinematography By: Stephen Goldblatt 
Editor: Anne V. Coates 

Cast: Demi Moore, Burt Reynolds, Armand Assante, Ving Rhames, Robert Patrick, Rumer Willis, Paul Guilfoyle, Pandora Peaks, Barbara Alyn Woods, Siobhan Fallon, Jose Zuniga, Frances Fisher, Keone Young

Erin Grant loses care and custody of her daughter when she's divorced from her husband Darrell, a small-time thief. Struggling for money, she is a dancer at a nightclub, where one night Congressman Dilbeck (in disguise) attacks another member of the audience. A spectator, who recognizes Dilbeck and is fond of Erin, offers to get back her daughter by blackmailing Dilbeck. Things do not work out as planned, though.

The filmmakers seem to be writing what they think is funny and is only funny to them, like it's a film of only inside jokes. Disquisition itself as quirky crime comedy.

Demi Moore has never looked better, though it didn't help in the lead up for the film. It was well publicized how much she did and had done to achieve this appearance. It also doesn't help that she makes the mistake through the film that this is a strip club and most stripping is done to be tantalizing yet blatant. Here she tries more interpretive dancing and seems to think she is doing a cabaret show more then just stripping. She shows off more avant garde moves. While trying to make her Character more of a feminist. I am guessing to distance herself from the other strippers in the film making them seem lower grade then her. She was paid $12 million for this film, a record fee for a actress at that time. The film was more popular in overseas theaters than in American theaters. She also had no less than 8 assistants on the film - one for make-up, a hairstylist, a costumer, a personal assistant, a personal trainer, a motion trainer and two security personnel.

That's the problem with the film she seems so above everyone else like he is slumming in the film. This film is supposed to be trashy fun. It is sold purely on Demi's sex appeal and humorous situations. Giving the male audience want they want. To see her naked and in barely there low cut outfits in between some comedy that includes a conspiracy pulpy noirish elements that include con games and black mail. It should have been an easy sell. Then it morphs into an unappealing and cheesy mess. --Though she is the star if the film, the film slowly becomes more of an ensemble out of nowhere, though all stories so revolve around her character.

Demi Moore was called back to re-shoot some scenes, and had to wear a wig since she had already shaved her head for G.I. Jane

Mainly because Demi Moore's character though obviously smarter than most of the people in the film (though has made many stupid mistakes) her character isn't interesting nor has anything interesting to do other then the obvious title of the film. So she is pulled up and promote through the film (always looking immaculate.) Due to other characters actions and it is mostly her reaching to the situations. She is put into and trying to get out of in non interesting not funny ways.

While none of the dancing is noteworthy or as amazing as the film wants you to think it is. The filmmakers obviously know how to spotlight the star as she is the only one who gets more time on screen during her stripping scenes and is the only one allowed to have more of a theme to her dancing and takes forever to actually take her clothes off. Then isn’t even topless or naked too much, especially as that seems to be what the film was marketed to an audience as, I imagine most men went to this film to hopefully see her in the altogether and were grossly disappointed. I can admit it was one of the reasons I wanted to see it when it came out. Which makes only sense in film logic as the world seems against her and women in general and though had a nice job before after losing it. This seems to be the only job that she can qualify for and make fast money.

This could have been a early entry of exploitation movie as a Hollywood blockbuster. Instead of stupid, cheap sitcom movie. The little girl who plays Demi Moore's daughter in the movie is actually her real life daughter, Rumer Willis.

Ving Rhames and Robert Patrick are solid and funny as at least their performances are inspired especially considering the material.

Burt Reynolds tries way too hard in a role that he is strangely miscast In and his character never reaches the right amount of menace when it comes to his fetish, some might argue perversion. Not do we see him as the fine upstanding congressman he is supposed to be. It is always more as a cartoonish loony villain. It's a part that was originally intended for Michael Caine and offered to

Gene Hackman and Donald Sutherland who all turned down the part, Before going to Burt Reynolds. This was supposed to be Reynolds comeback role. Though it comes off as a one sided performance. He was not originally actually sought by the production for the part of politician Dave Dilbeck. Reynolds wanted the part badly and so contacted Castle Rock studio head Rob Reiner personally and went to Miami, Florida to audition. He took a pay cut considerably lower than to what he had received during the heyday of his career. He based his character and performance on real life politicians he had known from his early years through his police chief father in Florida.

This is also one of the rare films here the male lead actually never gets romantically or sexually involved with the female lead. The film has that slight empowering message that Demi Moore isn't save or taken care of my any men. Nor does she have a romantic interest. Though the film positions them to do so then quickly abandons the idea, when it becomes actually convenient for them to get together. It hair seems set up and abandoned.

The film seems more of a product of trying to make a pulpy quirky comedy, Partially an ensemble but also seems to revolve around what feels like a fad that was just becoming popular in more acceptable social circles at the time. in a way legitimizing it for pop culture coming around the same time as SHOWGIRLS. Though the disappointing aspect here is that there is nothing special about the dancing or even the world of strippers. Presenting it as slow, basic and typical as a secretarial pool. It just feels basic and boring.

Underwent last minute editing when preview audiences laughed at the wrong parts.

In the original trailer for the film, we see a low angle shot of Ving Rhames and Pandora Pekas. That shot did not appear in the film because it took place during the original climax of the film. That climax was re-shot after being shown to a preview audience. Orginally, the final sequence took place in a sugar cane field. After preview audiences were uncomfortable with the scene, it was rewritten and re-shot in the sugar shack. We still see the final shots of the original sequence that shows a character being taken away in handcuffs.

The film could have been funny, there are plenty of funny ideas. But the follow through seems off or miss their target completely. as the humor and tone feel disconnected and awkward at times. It just seems that the film would have played better as not only an ensemble, but not with a superstar at the center of it so the individual stories can have equal weight while helping the central one. Sort of like what was attempted with the Tim Allen starring BIG TROUBLE.

Grade: D

1 comment:

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