Directed by Andrew Bergman. USA. 1996.

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Andrew Bergman’s film, contrary to anything he might claim, has no comment to make about the sex industry or the exploitation of women.  But is it entertaining?  Not unless you are deeply in lust with Demi Moore, who performs no less than six erotic dances during this over-long and unsatisfying movie.

Moore plays Erin Grant, a woman who, having lost her job and custody of her daughter, takes up stripping to earn enough money to pay for an appeal case to win her offspring back.

Moore, Armand Assante and Ving Rhames play it straight, whereas Burt Reynolds seems to be acting in a different film altogether.  His comedy congressman character is a parody of sleazy politicians, similar to Bulworth but with no depth or humanity.  Robert Patrick plays Erin’s thieving husband in a similarly unrealistic vein.

In fact, what with Erin’s pole dancing colleagues - all of whom are lacking in intelligence - the wacky, ‘funny’ characters far outweigh the genuine, believable ones.  Imagine a few straight parts had been written into Raising Arizona and you’ll get the picture.  This is where Striptease falls down.  Is it meant to be a gripping drama or a crazy comedy?  Because of the confusion it fails to be either.

Alistair Pope
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