The Full Monty

Bomb Rating: 

I have asserted on these pages that British films revolve around but a single issue: English people attempting -- despite centuries of social repression and genetic inbreeding -- to overcome the odds and actually express themselves. Trying to get a Brit to admit his or her true feelings? You'd be better off squeezing water from a rock. Unfortunately, I have failed to include an important qualifier in all this: "unemployed." At least the working Limeys have somewhere to go when they're not moping about. For the subjects of recent British cinema, however, it's apparently not enough to be emotionally repressed -- they have to be vocationally repressed too.

There's some fun poked at "Brassed Off" at the beginning of "The Full Monty" as unemployed steel workers Gaz (Robert Carlyle), Dave (Mark Addy) and Gaz's son attempt to steal a piece of steel from the closed-down factory. On their way out, a marching band goes by, as if director Peter Cattaneo were trying to set his film apart by suggesting it was about the regular unemployed, not the talented unemployed.

I'd rather listen to nuns explaining the joys of celibacy than watch Englishmen argue for two hours about which form of British unemployment is preferable (hint: It's called "the royal family"). Is this what national pride in England has come to? Must they insist on exporting their misery via the cinema? Hey England: Will you please stop sending us these movies if we give you back that damn tea? We'll send it in a crate with Hugh Grant.

In the end, isn't male pride what these films are all about? Whether they whip out their trumpet or their penis, basically these guys are just trying to prove that they're still men. But no matter which instrument you expose, you're still unemployed. Pride may do a lot of things, but it doesn't feed the kids.

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