Striptease (1996) – Review

1 1/2 Stars

Demi Moore sports a four-star physique in a torrid comedy that is more infamous for its advertising campaign than anything else. The poster that hung outside of theaters in June of 1996 showcasing a nude Moore, posed in such a way to block the naughty bits, sparked both interest, expectations, and in some cases outrage. To be certain; Striptease though flawed is still a better film than the campy, and illogical Paul Verhoeven film Showgirls.

Erin Grant (Demi Moore) is a secretary for the F.B.I. until she loses her job due to the arrest of her former husband Darrell (Robert Patrick). Now, jobless and locked in a bitter divorce, Erin loses custody of her daughter Lily (Rumor Willis). Forced to make quick cash Erin begins stripping at a Miami gentleman’s club called the “Eager Beaver”.

One night Congressman David Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds) visits the establishment much to the chagrin of his long-suffering aide. During the visit a drunken man tries to rush Erin while she’s dancing. Dilbeck strikes the man with a Champaign bottle and professes his love for the gorgeous performer. This is all witnessed by the club’s nightly regular, Jerry Killian, who recognizes the politician and devises a blackmail scheme to use photos in order to get Erin back custody of her daughter.

Jerry turns up as a floating corpse in the Glades ruining the wilderness getaway of vacationing Miami cop, Al Garcia (Armand Assante). With Garcia involved in the investigation Erin becomes the cop’s sole hope of figuring out the murder. But this case has corrupt congressmen, sugar cartel barons, and the FBI in collusion to kill the stripper, who now knows too much.

The plot while never fully realized is based on the work of crime writer Carl Hiaasen, whose work is akin to an Elmore Leonard yarn about the seedy characters that populate the Florida landscape. This isn’t the typical material that you’d expect from the pre-release hype for the picture. While Moore is stunning and gives the movie her full commitment it does her no favors. Most people forget that before Boogie Nights‘ critical success Striptease was being called Burt Reynolds’ comeback film. He is wasted along with Ving Rhames and a number of other talent actors, and actresses. Striptease holds no value today other than being a voyeuristic curio.

Director: Andrew Bergman
Stars: Demi Moore, Ving Rhames, Burt Reynolds

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