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Film / The Full Monty

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It's England, but not that "Monty".

The Full Monty is a 1997 British black comedy written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Peter Cattaneo.

Set in Sheffield, England, the film follows the story of six unemployed men, four of them former steelworkers, who attempt to make money as strippers. No, wait, come back, it's really good. The film was a modest hit, released in the summer of 1997 to stellar reviews and decent box office, and then was a surprise nominee for Best Picture. The film made $257 million worldwide on a budget of $3.5 million, $45 million of which came Stateside.

The film was adapted into a Broadway Musical in 2000, which moves the plot to America, and into a stage show in 2013, once again set (and premiering) in Sheffield.

The Full Monty (2023) is a sequel series starring most of the same cast and once again written by co-creator Simon Beaufoy. It premiered on FX/Hulu in June 14, 2023.

Compare Magic Mike which is also a movie about male strippers but set in the United States instead of the United Kingdom.

Contains examples of:

  • Actually Pretty Funny: Lomper smirks when he realises his orchestra are playing stripper music as a joke at his expense.
  • Amazingly Embarrassing Parents: Gaz's son thinks that his father is embarrassing. When Gaz starts to rehearse for the stripping show, his son runs away and tries to go back to his mother's because he is ashamed of his father.
  • Ask a Stupid Question...: This exchange when Gaz asks his friend Dave to “borrow” a jacket for a funeral from the retail store ASDA where he works:
    Dave: What colour?
    Gaz: Orange.
    Dave: Orange?
    Gaz: Black! For fuck's sake.
  • Bathroom Stall of Overheard Insults: When Gaz and Dave sneak into the toilets of the club during the Chippendales show, they overhear Jean's opinion about her husband Dave: she thinks that he has given up everything.
  • Berserk Button: Gerald butts in in Gaz and his friends' conversation and afterwards, calls them "fucking ugly" which really breaks the straw on the camel's back for Gaz.
    Gerald: Because you're fat and he's thin, and you're both fucking ugly.
    Gaz: [lunging at Gerald in fury] Bastard!
    [Chaos ensue as Gaz attempts to fight Gerald, only for the other members of the job club to restrain them quickly.]
  • Black Comedy: Cheery fun about a bunch of guys stripping off for the ladies, but it doesn't gloss over the fact that they hit on doing it because their livelihoods have been destroyed, and a bleak future of long-term unemployment seems most likely. The play version adds to this with a catchy musical number about assisting a friend's suicide.
  • Black Is Bigger in Bed:
    • Horse becomes concerned when he learns of the plan to strip completely, because he thinks everyone will expect his penis to be large (indeed, when he auditions, Lomper whispers to Gaz to ask why he's called "Horse", implying that he believes it to be a nod to his endowment) when it is instead of normal size. It is instead Guy, a white guy, who has a rather large penis.
      Gaz: (upon seeing Guy's "assets" at the tryouts) Gentlemen, the lunchbox has landed.
    • Also subverts it, in that Dave asks his wife whether, were anything to happen to him, she might take up with a black feller. She answers that she "might do, yeah". He immediately goes into a funk, because everyone knows they have "great bodies and that"note . He may be talking about their physiques, and not their equipment, or he may just be uncomfortable openly discussing genitalia with her. Either way it's rooted in his own insecurity about his appearance.
  • Brick Joke: Gerald talks to Dave about a friend of his wife who used something like cling film to help her to lose weight. Later, Dave wraps cling film around his stomach, while eating a chocolate bar.
  • Briefs Boasting: When they strip to their underwear for the first time, the handsome, well-toned Guy wears briefs, whereas his more homely-looking co-dancers wear boxer shorts.
  • Censor Shadow: Thanks to clever lighting, the stage versions manage to have the guys completely naked, and yet we can't see a thing. The film, of course, has the luxury of showing them from behind. (Some viewers were still annoyed that, what with full-frontal nudity being one of the major plot points, we didn't get to see them from the front.)
  • Chick Flick: The spear counterpart— basically a "chick flick" from a man's perspective, as guys stop and think of who they are, what they look like and their place in the world. The whole scene at Gerald's house is nothing but this.
  • Cluster F-Bomb: Gaz in particular is guilty of these.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • During the movie, the boys watch Flashdance for inspiration. Dave spend the whole time criticizing Jennifer Beale's welding. "Her mix is all to cock! ... it's like Bonfire Night! That's too much acetylene, is that! Them joints will hold fuck all!" Gaz tells him to shut up.
    • Lomper dismissing the idea of committing suicide by drowning because he can't swim.
    • At the police station, the cops are having a laugh at the gang's attempt to strip, then everyone starts criticizing Gaz, telling him he's always a beat ahead of the music.
    • Dave, inspired by Gerald's tale of his wife's trip to a spa, wraps his belly in cling-film in an attempt to slim down... and eats chocolate while doing so.
  • Cool Old Lady: The musical adds in a delirious old woman who "came with the piano".
  • Cultural Translation: The musical. It moves the action to Buffalo, NY and renames most of the characters (Lomper becomes "Malcolm", Gary = Jerry, Gerald = Harold, and Guy = Ethan). Dave and Horse remain the same.
  • Dads Can't Cook: When his son visits him, Gaz gives him cheap Chinese takeout food. His son does not like it.
  • Delayed Reaction: When Gaz and Dave walk past Lomper sitting in his car, Dave fixes Lomper's engine while making polite conversation about remembering him from their days at the steel mill together, and Gaz walks a few yards further on to wait for him. The car starts, and Dave, annoyed at Lomper's silent ingratitude for the repair job, doesn't really absorb the exhaust smoke starting to fill the passenger cabin until he is halfway toward Gaz, who has lit a cigarette for him - at which point he turns around, dashes back to the car, and drags the coughing Lomper out of the door.
  • Distant Prologue: The prologue is a TV report about the booming economy of Sheffield, some 25 years before the events of the film.
  • Driven to Suicide: Lomper attempts suicide by carbon monoxide poisoning in his car, after losing his job as the security guard at the steel mill. After Dave pulls him out of it (the car), they have a discussion about other suicide options:
    Dave: Drownin'. Now there's a way to go.
    Lomper: I can't swim.
    Gaz: Well you don't have to fucking swim, you divvy. That's the whole point. God, you're not very keen are you?
    Lomper: Sorry...
  • Fanservice: It's a movie about male strippers, so there are a lot of nude bits from the main characters. One scene has some of the men covering their privates during the striptease sequence. It does sometimes cross into Fan Disservice due to some of the characters being rather unattractive.
  • Fat Best Friend: Dave is the closest friend of Gaz, and is often the voice of reason compared to Gaz's hare-brained ideas. He's also much fatter than Gaz, which makes him extremely insecure about his looks.
  • First Father Wins: The conflict between Gaz and his ex-wife's new husband is built around this trope.
  • Four-Temperament Ensemble: Everyone but Gaz fits this scheme nicely... Gerald is choleric, Dave and Lomper are melancholic, Horse is phlegmatic and Guy is sanguine.
  • Gag Penis: It appears to be Guy's only "talent" in the tryouts. Subverted with Horse, whose name strongly suggests this trope ("it's not because he's won the Grand National"), who is astonishingly... good at dancing.
  • Historical Character Confusion: From the musical:
    "I've got a friend, like Carole King, or was it Carly Simon, used to sing, I always get those two confused, but anyway—I've got a friend."
  • Hypocritical Humor: When Dave gets a job as a security guard job at ASDA (supermarket), he tells Gaz that he is "working, earning, not poncing about!" after he has just been seen trying to juggle confectionery.
  • Known Only by Their Nickname: Lomper and Horse.
  • Left Hanging: The vast majority of the plot points in the film are left unresolved — the guys do their dance, strip all the way, then after a brief freeze-frame of the moment the film cuts to black.
  • Love Epiphany: Lomper and Guy, under hilarious circumstances.
  • Men Act, Women Are: The first part of this trope is key to the situation; if men are defined by what they do, the closure of the steelworks has robbed them of their identity. They can no longer provide for their families: all the men are now on state benefits or living on their wives' earnings. The latter is obviously not a bad thing or presented as such, but for the men of Sheffield it's clearly a blow to the ego.
  • Mistaken for Cheating: Dave becomes emotionally distant from his wife Jean because of his embarrassment over trying to be a stripper, and his own insecurities over being good enough for her. Jean interprets his behavior as him cheating on her, especially when she finds lotion and a thong he'd been hiding. Thankfully when Dave explains to her what he'd been doing, and opens up to her over his insecurities, she gives him her unequivocal support.
  • Mr. Fanservice:
    • Averted in-universe. Their act is based on a Chippendales show, and none of the men resemble those dancers in any way. Justified thanks to Hollywood Homely; none of the actors are ugly, per se, and Robert Carlyle has his share of fans.
    • The Broadway show definitely plays it straight. Women were known to attend multiple performances.
  • Naked People Are Funny: One of the driving tropes. You have to wonder how many women attended out of Bile Fascination.
  • Oop North: The film is set in Sheffield after the widespread closure of steel mills in the 1980s caused the local economy to collapse.
  • Shout-Out: A movie about six British male laid off steelworkers flash-dancing to earn extra money? More like a remake. They even “borrow” the “original” movie for inspiration.
  • Title Drop: When they're putting up the posters.
  • Unconfessed Unemployment: Gerald never tells his wife he's lost his job. She finds out only when the repo men show up, much to her displeasure. Ironically, she throws him out just as he gets a letter offering him the job for which Gaz and Dave sabotaged his interview.
  • Visit by Divorced Dad: Gaz's ex-wife has the custody of their son. He visits his dad once a week.
  • Weight Woe: Dave is very self-conscious about his weight, fearing that his girlfriend no longer likes him because of his looks, and that the audience during the strip act would be repulsed by him.
  • What the Hell, Hero?: Gaz and Dave mess with Gerald during a job interview to have a laugh at their former foreman, seemingly costing him the job.note  He comes out and yells at them, nearly in tears. They buy him a little something for the garden by way of apology.
  • You Can Leave Your Hat On: The finale (with the song that is the Trope Namer playing in the background). The hat is the last bit of clothing the guys retain, and the last shot of the film is a freeze-frame of them flinging their hats into space with the enthusiasm of Mary Tyler Moore.