Penis, balls, the whole tackle dangling out there for all to see is what the out-of-work steelworkers in Sheffield, England, call the full monty. The film of the same name, directed by Peter Cattaneo from a script by Simon Beaufoy — both making promising debuts in features — concerns the efforts of six laid-off males of odd shapes, various ages and uptight dispositions to earn a few bob by stripping. How to beat the Chippendales dancers who made a killing on a recent Ladies Night in Sheffield? Go full monty.
Brazenly manipulative, this exuberant charmer still manages to be roaringly funny and subtly heartbreaking. All praise to a superb cast, led by Robert Carlyle — the psycho in Trainspotting — as Gaz, a divorced father who organizes the troupe to regain his pride. Equally fine are Tom Wilkinson as the older Gerald, Mark Addy as the chubby Dave, Steve Huison as the inhibited Lomper, Hugo Speer as the exhibitionist Guy and Paul Barber as Horse, who is not hung like his name suggests. When these Sheffield Village People finally strut onstage in front of their wives and families — the Tom Jones cover is “You Can Leave Your Hat On” — The Full Monty defines the phrase “crowd pleaser.” Hats off.