Peter Cattaneo's populist comedy is the kind of film that tugs the heartstrings as often as it tickles the funny bone. Combining a finely-tuned script with a searing indictment of Thatcherism, "The Full Monty" is always more than the sum of its tabloid-friendly storyline.
Desperate for cash, unemployed steel worker Gaz (Robert Carlyle) rounds up a group of equally despairing men from the dole queue to form Hot Metal, Yorkshire's answer to The Chippendales. Although nowhere near as tanned or toned as the professionals, Hot Metal are willing to go all the way by giving their audience the proverbial full monty.
Unlike Mark Herman's 1996 "Brassed Off" (a similarly themed comedy about the decline of British industry and its impact on ordinary lives) "The Full Monty" never lets its angry subtext stifle the laughs. Keeping tongue firmly welded in cheek, scriptwriter Simon Beaufoy creates some classic scenes, including the now famous dole queue dance to Hot Chocolate.
Beaufoy is less interested in why the steel factories have closed than the knock-on effect of such a sudden rise in unemployment. Taking a sideways glance at 1990s masculinity he suggests that Gaz and his friends haven't just lost their jobs; they've also lost all sense of themselves as men.In the film's final moments they may not improve their career prospects, but they do regain their self-respect. And that, in any one's language, is worth getting your kecks off for.
Read a review of Peter Cattaneo's second feature "Lucky Break".