Striptease (1996)

This one gets my vote as Worst Movie of the Year.  Robert Patrick 
(TERMINATOR 2), of all people, gives the most consistently credible 
performance.  He plays the white-trash husband whose costly custody 
battle has forced his wife (Demi Moore), a former FBI clerk, to 
start stripping as means to meet ends.  At least, that's why we 
*think* she's doing it.  Incredulously, the director--  Andrew 
Bergman (HONEYMOON IN VEGAS), adapting from the novel by Carl 
Hiaasen -- simply cuts from the courtroom to the dressing room!  
Moore mumbles something about "needing the money" and that's all we 
get in the way of character motivation.  Period.  Robert Patrick is 
pleasantly distracting for a while, as is Ving Rhames' occasionally 
scene-stealing bouncer-of-few-words.  Ms. Moore, on the other hand, 
gives an intensely coarse performance that's probably too serious 
for what this movie had in mind.  She's no fun to watch.

How an ordinary Miami mom ends up with such a buffed bod is never 
explained, either.  (Perhaps she is working to pay off her trainer 
and plastic surgeon, as well?)  There's also the small matter of 
Burt Reynolds' corrupt congressman.  Slurring his way through a bad 
Brando impersonation, Reynolds embarrasses himself more than any 
bad toupee ever did.  Ugh.  Who knows what this unwatchable mess 
looked like before the test audiences got hold of it?  (A reshot 
ending bumped the movie from a planned Memorial Day release.)  If 
nothing else-- and as Ms. Moore's rote bumping and grinding can 
attest to-- STRIPTEASE proves one point, conclusively:  that even 
SHOWGIRLS star Elizabeth Berkley can do something better than the 
highest paid actress in Hollywood.  Bless her heart.  (Rated 
"R"/115 min.)

Grade: F

Copyright 1996 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted in triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: June 30, 1996

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