Based on a half-decent novel by Carl Hiaasen, Striptease is a dumbed-down-for-the-masses vehicle for Demi Moore, who one doesn’t immediately associate with comedy unless Indecent Proposal (1993) and The Scarlet Letter were supposed to be funny.
She plays Erin Grant, a chiselled, surgically enhanced single mother who strips at The Eager Beaver (a club whose logo features a Jessica Rabbit lookalike sitting astride a pink rocket) and just wants to regain custody of her daughter from slimy Darrell (Robert Patrick), who steals wheelchairs to make a quick buck.
Even though she dances like Elizabeth Berkeley in Showgirls (1995), Erin comes to the attention of Dave Dilbeck (Burt Reynolds, after Michael Caine, Donald Sutherland and Gene Hackman turned the role down), a Congressman with a weakness for titty bars and murdering his opponents, causing her to wonder aloud, “How did I get so popular?” (how indeed?).
When Dave invites her to dance for him on his yacht, she storms out after he confesses to stealing (and making love to) her laundry lint, and if that sounds lame and silly, it’s just the tip of the iceberg in a film that mistakes shameless mugging for comic timing and often substitutes airless drama for jokes.
In fact, nobody gets an opportunity to raise any laughs, steal the show or even deliver a good line.
There’s nothing to work with in writer/director Andrew Bergman’s script and he seems to know it, lingering on the strip scenes longer than is strictly necessary.
It ends with the villains trapped in a sugar mountain with their heads sticking out, looking like the Three Stooges.
One of them says, “You have a serious dandruff problem” and the last remaining audience member walks out.
Congressman David Dilbeck
Lt. Al Garcia
Barbara Alyn Woods
Louis Seeger Crume