Ah, the neon hump and grind of movieland's pole-dancing dens. Hollywood refuge for the tart-with-the-heart, seedy renta-script layby for tip-off hungry cops and source for such titillatory, cartoon eye-tat as Striptease and Showgirls. Sub-genres rarely come as leery, brutish and forever adolescent as the stripper movie, and Michael Radford's attempts to rectify the abuse with a backstage ogle are only partially successful.
A week in the life of five strippers, Radford's rambling film was born out of script-eschewing improv workshops. And Christ does it show. Story strands appear to vanish in the edit while scenes and characters flail from the inspired (Tilly's gothic Miss Whiplash) to the insipid (Sandra Oh's drippy wannabe poet). As for Daryl's Hannah's sketch of a gangling airhead, cute though it is, it soon descends into a laugh-at Valley Girl caricature.
At its best, the film recalls Mike Figgis' LA underbelly projects but it's all over the place, sometimes gritty, sometimes glam, subjectifying its babydoll cast one minute then drooling over their pole-slithering the next. Barely entertaining. Pun intended.
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