Oct 23, 2015

The Full Monty

In the grim industrial town of Sheffield, ne'er do wells Gaz (Robert Carlyle, center) and Dave (Mark Addy) come up with an innovative way to make money -- they'll perform as male strippers, and make up for their less-than-spectacular physiques by offering "the full Monty," full frontal nudity.  They recruit shy, skinny Lomper (Steve Huison, left), their former boss Gerald (Tom Wilkinson), elderly dancer Horse (Paul Barber, right), and well-hung Guy (Hugo Speer, below).

The plan brings relationship problems, trouble with the police, ridicule from their mates, and concerns over their physical inadequacies and lack of talent, but in the end they rally together, and the whole town cheers as they strip to Tom Jones' "You Can Leave Your Hat On."

The buddy-bonding of the guys and the frequent underwear and jockstrap shots would be more than enough to make the movie a gay must-see, but there's also an explicit romance between Lomper and Guy.  No one knew that they were gay before.  Maybe they didn't know themselves.  But they escape from a police raid together, run across the housetops of Sheffield in their underwear, and take refuge in Lomper's house.  After that they are a couple, a fact casually recognized by their mates.

In 2000, The Full Monty premiered as a stage musical with an American setting. The Lomper and Guy characters, renamed Malcolm and Ethan, get a love song, "You Walk with Me."  There are also Danish, Czech, Japanese, Korean, Mexican, and Icelandic versions, and it is increasingly becoming a favorite of American college and community theaters.

Of course, the actors are expected to have unspectacular physiques, but their camaraderie and casual acceptance of same-sex romance -- and the jockstraps --more than makes up for it.

Besides, you never see the physiques of real, ordinary, everyday guys on stage.  Isn't that more interesting than a parade of muscle gods?