Demi Moore owns this movie and does so proudly. Though her boobs are depressingly fake, she is actually really good at stripping. It’s never explained exactly why a secretary is instantaneously amazing at working the pole (is there such thing as a stripper prodigy?), but since that’s what most people probably watched STRIPTEASE for, it doesn’t fail in that regard. Unfortunately, the non-boobies part of the main character is just your typical “stripper with the heart of gold” and an implausibly genius mind to match. She manages to stay steps ahead of everyone from cops to politicians and pulls off some truly ridiculous schemes in the movie.
Moore is joined by everyone from Armand Assante to Ving Rhames to her own daughter, Rumer “Chin” Willis, who gets to watch her mom take off her clothes for money firsthand. But the film’s one VIP is easily Burt Reynolds, who plays a horny congressman obsessed with the stripper. Reynolds goes full force and embraces the oddball pervert character, serving up some memorably weird lines and scenes. By far the strangest is the part where he covers himself in Vaseline and sniffs the lint from Moore’s panties. That’s something you don’t see every day.
Director Andrew Bergman also made HONEYMOON IN VEGAS, a very underrated romantic comedy in my opinion. Here, he doesn’t come close to the same level of success. The big issue is that STRIPTEASE is such a bizarre tale to tell and not sure what genre it wants to be. The constant undertone is almost like a sleazy noir, but it also attempts to dabble in goofy comedy, cheesy heartwarming drama, and just plain weirdness. (Horny porpoises, snake choking and the aforementioned Vaseline scene…) The closest thing I can compare it to is the far superior WILD THINGS. I could see this kind of thing working in the original novel by Carl Hiaasen, but it doesn’t translate well to the screen. At all.
Extra Tidbit: Reni Riffel plays a stripper here, just like she did in SHOWGIRLS.