Striptease (1996)

(On DVD, June 2009): Carl Hiaasen’s particular brand of comic crime fiction can be tricky to swallow even on the page, so it’s not much of a shock to find out that this straight-up adaptation somehow fails to click. His usual strategy of surrounding a competent character with a bunch of idiots may be successful in a novel, but here it creates a comedy vacuum around lead Demi Moore, which becomes a problem since most scenes revolve around her. Hiaasen’s all-knowing narration can’t be used, and the uneasy mixture of comedy and violence becomes even more uneasy on-screen (even after toning down the book’s gratuitously blood-thirsty ending) Worse yet are the problems that the film creates for itself: While a film about strip-teasing is expected to show some flesh, the entire club sequences lose their charms quickly, especially when they still grind the film to a halt about three different times: it doesn’t help that Hiaasen’s twisty plot is snipped to a only a few thin threads that don’t create much suspense. Still, the film isn’t the disaster one could expect: Ving Rhames is hilarious in one of his first big-screen roles, whereas Burt Reynolds hits a late-career peak as a particularly perverted politician. The Miami locations are often well-used, and the whole thing is over before anyone has time to be really displeased.

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