Striptease is a 1996 American erotic comedy film directed, produced & written by Andrew Bergman based on Carl Hiassen's 1993 novel of the same name, starring Demi Moore, Burt Reynolds and Ving Rhames.
| Spoiler warning: The following contains plot details about|
the entire movie.
"Striptease" is about former FBI secretary Erin Grant, who loses custody of her young daughter Angela (Rumer Willis, Moore's real-life daughter) to her ex-husband Darrell, who is a criminal and cost Erin her job.
In order to afford money an appeal to get Angela back, Erin becomes a stripper at the Eager Beaver, a Miami strip club. A Congressman named David Dilbeck visits the strip club and immediately begins to adore Erin.
Aware of Dilbeck's embarrassing indulgences, another Eager Beaver patron approaches Erin with a plan to manipulate him into to settling the custody battle and help her get Angela back, but Dilbeck has powerful business connections who want to ensure he remains in office & the people who could possibly embarrass him in an election end up being murdered.
Meanwhile, Erin gets custody of Angela back from Darrell's negligent care. Dilbeck's personal interest in Erin persists & she's invited to perform privately for him.
Dilbeck asks Erin to become his lover despite the concerns of his staff's concerns that Erin knows too much about him & they debates whether to kill Erin should be murdered or they threaten to take Angela away from her.
However, Erin and a police officer (Armand Assante) begin to suspect Dilbeck's guilt in the murders & Erin comes up with a plan to bring him to justice. Erin is able to trick Dilbeck into confessing on tape & Dilbeck gets arrested.
In the end, Erin gets full custody of Angela, gets her job back and retires from stripping while Darnell returns to prison after he is convicted of his crimes.
- Demi Moore as Erin Grant
- Armand Assante as Lt. Al Garcia
- Ving Rhames as Shad
- Robert Patrick as Darrell Grant
- Burt Reynolds as Congressman David Dilbeck
- Siobhan Fallon Hogan as Rita Grant
- Rumer Willis as Angela Grant
- Paul Guilfoyle as Malcolm Moldowsky
- Stuart Pankin as Alan Mordecai
- PaSean Wilson as Sabrina Hepburn
- Dina Spybey as Monique, Jr.
- Barbara Alyn Woods as Lorelei
- Pandora Peaks as Urbana Sprawl
- Rena Riffel as Tiffany
Castle Rock Entertainment produced "Striptease" and the screenplay itself was written by Andrew Bergman, who also directed the movie.
According to one critic, the novel's plot is "quite faithfully followed" by the screenplay, but in bringing the complicated story to the screen, "Bergman forgets to explain persuasively what a nice girl like Erin — smart, spunky and a former FBI employee — is doing in a dump called the Eager Beaver."
There were concerns that the ending of the movie wasn't comical enough resulted in rewrites and reshoots, causing a one-month delay.
Part of these concerns owed to test screenings, where audiences objected to a scene where Dilbeck becomes violent. Later test screenings also turned up less than favorable reactions.
Filming began on September 18, 1995 and ended on December 21, 1995 & was filmed in Florida and Las Vegas, Nevada.
On set, Demi Moore had no fewer than eight assistants on the film: she had one for make-up, a hairstylist, a costumer, a personal assistant, a personal trainer, a motion trainer and two security personnel.
When Demi Moore was called back to re-shoot some of the scenes from the movie, she had to wear a wig because she already shaved her head due to filming the 1997 film G.I. Jane.
Demi Moore played the main female character, Erin Grant and for the film, she was paid $12.5 million (which was a record for an actress at the time).
In order to prepare for her role, Moore visited strip clubs in New York City, California, and Florida, and she met with strippers.
Moore really did dance topless in the part, and this was the sixth time she showed her breasts on film. She also read the novel, exercised & practiced yoga. She was cast before other important parts were cast, creating some interest in the project.
In the first attempt at filming Moore stripping, 200 actors were used to portray the audience. Although their salaries were small, many accepted the role to see Moore nude. After waiting for a while when Moore finally appeared and started dancing the crowd turned so loud and wild that the shooting had to temporarily cease. As Moore said, "After my experience, I felt very confident."
The cast also included some notable real-world strippers such as Pandora Peaks.
Ving Rhames plays a bouncer named Shad. Trying to find actors out for Shad's part, the filmmakers looked for someone "at least 6'2 and physically massive...any ethnicity." (Rhames is of African American descent).
Actors Michael Caine, Gene Hackman and Donald Sutherland turned down the role of David Dilbeck.
Burt Reynolds played the role of Congressman Dilbeck, and he based his performance after politicians he knew in his early life, through his father, a police chief. He was not an actor that the filmmakers originally had in mind for the part, but Reynolds wanted it, so he personally contacted Castle Rock head Rob Reiner & traveled to Miami to auditio for it & accepted a salary lower than what he had made in his earlier career.
Moore's own daughter Rumer Willis (who was 7 years old at the time the movie was released) played Erin's daughter Angela. According to Moore: "she [Willis] wanted it so badly" that Moore asked that her be considered for the part.
In reality, the film required Willis to see Moore dancing topless for a scene in which Angela sees Erin performing and Moore said that this scene was acceptable, saying: "We don't shame the body, we encourage the body as something beautiful and natural, and my children bathe with me, and I walk around naked."
"Striptease" opened at #4 at the box office, grossing $12,322,069 during its opening weekend with its widest release in 1,979 theaters.
Domestically, "Striptease" grossed $33,109,743.
"Striptease" received negative reviews from critics. On Rotten Tomatoes, it currently holds a 12% rating based on 68 reviews.
Roger Ebert complimented some of the characters, but ultimately concluded the film failed because "all of the characters are hilarious except for Demi Moore's." He felt the drama surrounding the main character "throws a wetblanket over the rest of the party." Ebert also found the nudity in the film not too sexy.
Leonard Maltin was harsher, writing in his book that the film was too depressing and said it was "not funny enough, or dramatic enough, or sexy enough, or bad enough, to qualify as entertainment in any category."
Barbara Cramer concurred with Roger Ebert that Demi Moore's character was written too dramatically, compared to other characters. She called the film predictable and that it would appeal mostly to "post-pubescent schoolboys or closet voyeurs." However, She also cited Burt Reynolds' performance, calling it "his best role in years," and that Ving Rhames was "worth the price of admission."
Brian D. Johnson of Maclean's (who thought that Demi Moore's acting was terrible) predicted that despite Demi Moore's financial success, her career depended on the success of this film and the film was "tacky, pretentious-and boring." This critic described Striptease as displaying Moore's vanity.
Dave Ansen of Newsweek, sharing Ebert's view on Moore's character, also claimed Striptease failed as a drama because it had no mystery, revealing the identity of its villains early. Moreover, the "damsel-in-distress angle generates zero tension."
In Daniel P. Franklin's book "Politics and Film: The Political Culture of Film in the United States", he went as far as to call the movie "the worst film ever made" and stated that the film "pays homage to Moore's surgical breast enhancement".
Nathan Rabin (while reviewing the film for his series "My Year of Flops") described the film thus, writing:
"Moore's dour lead performance sabotages the film from the get-go. It's as if director Andrew Bergman told Moore she was acting in a serious drama about a struggling single mother...and then told everyone else in the cast that they were making a zany crime comedy filled with kooky characters, sleazy hustlers, dumbass opportunists, and outsized caricatures."
"Striptease" received seven Golden Raspberry nominations and won six of them for "Worst Picture", "Worst Director", "Worst Screenplay", "Worst Actress," "Worst Original Song" (for "(Pussy Pussy Pussy) Whose Kitty Cat Are You?") and "Worst Screen Couple."
The only category that the film lost was Worst Supporting Actor for Burt Reynolds, which went to Marlon Brando for The Island of Dr. Moreau. In winning the Worst Picture Razzie, Striptease defeated The Island of Dr. Moreau, Barb Wire, The Stupids, and Ed. Moore won for Worst Actress while she and Reynolds shared for Worst Screen Couple.