Magazine article The Spectator

Keeping Abreast of Demi

Magazine article The Spectator

Keeping Abreast of Demi

Article excerpt

Cinema Striptease

(15, selected cinemas)

The Incredibly True Adventure of Two Girls in Love

(15, selected cinemas)

Demi Moore's breasts hang around Striptease like a brace of silicon albatrosses. I don't know what she keeps in them, but once again they've sunk the movie, notwithstanding that for this airing Demi got more money than any other actress ever: $12.5 million. The problem with Striptease is a simple one: it's supposed to be a comedy; it stars Demi Moore. Now you can make a comedy or you can make a film with Demi Moore, but you can't do both. When Miss Moore had her breasts done, something obviously went wrong and surgeons had to perform an emergency comedy bypass operation. So since then, whatever the role, she's played it the same: a strong woman who determines to have it all in a man's world and thereby 'empowers' herself. The empowering usually involves taking her top off. This was her novel approach to Puritan New England in her adaptation of Nathaniel Hawthorne's The Scarlet Letter, and it's now her equally bizarre take on Carl Hiaasen's comic romp Striptease.

Hiaasen's no Waugh or Wodehouse, but his novels are made for the movies: unusually in comic literature these days, they're full of what are in effect sight gags, so vividly conjured they make you laugh out loud. They're all set in Florida, and they're sadistically satirical: Hiassen is basically pro-swamp, anti-condo, so he takes great delight in creating innocuous tourist characters and then feeding them to alligators. Striptease is typical: a big cast of grotesques floating round a handful of relatively normal folks. In this instance, stripper and single mom Erin Grant (Demi Moore) is locked in a custody battle for her little girl with her ex-husband (Robert Patrick), a man who steals wheelchairs for a living. When the story fell into the hands of producer Mike Lobell and writer/director Andy Bergman, Hiassen probably thought he'd found his cinematic soulmates: the boys' back catalogue includes Honeymoon in Vegas with its platoon of skydiving Elvis impersonators. But the minute Demi Moore was cast, he must have known it was unlikely that anything even vaguely approximating to his novel could be steered through the Scylla and Charybdis of her breasts. I don't like to harp on about her chest, but I do think it's relevant: the Erin of the book is explicitly stated not to have great breasts, but rather to be a good dancer and a winning personality. …

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