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THE FULL MONTY Starring Robert Carlyle Tom Wilkinson Mark Addy Steve Huison Paul Barber Hugo Speer Screenplay Simon Beaufoy Director Peter Cattaneo Watching the most infectious comic moment in the British import The Full Monty -- a film rich with infectious comic moments -- can teach you a lot about what so many Hollywood comedies get so wrong The scene is set in a Yorkshire unemployment office where the films six protagonists laid-off steelworkers in training to become male exotic dancers are waiting for their bi-weekly dole cheques As the office radio begins playing Donna Summers Hot Stuff the men begin swaying unconsciously to the beat eventually easing into their bump-and-grind choreography for the song Its a wonderful bit of comic film-making by director Peter Cattaneo surprisingly restrained and staged with impeccable momentum and timing It also comes in a context which gives the laughter more bite The main characters in The Full Monty are frustrated and emasculated by their unemployment divorced Gaz Robert Carlyle faces losing joint custody of his son for non-payment of child support overweight Dave Mark Addy is rendered impotent by his feelings of physical and economic inadequacy middle-manager Gerald Tom Wilkinson is so shamed that he still hasnt told his wife of his sacking six months after the fact Their spontaneous burst of energy in that dole queue is a physical manifestation of optimism Theyre trying something to become men again by God even if its as ridiculous a notion as dropping trou -- or going the full monty in Brit-speak -- in front of 400 howling women Now Im not saying it isnt worth several chuckles simply watching the out-of-shape mates muddle their way through their pirouettes and pelvic thrusts incongruity is the mother of classic physical comedy Im willing to wager however that a Hollywoodized version of The Full Monty would miss the point entirely In this hypothetical American Monty the idea of six working-class
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