Okay, Demi Moore has been in a lot of sexy movies. There’s no denying that the actress took on some movies that played with our ideas about sex, even when she was somewhat innocently attached to Rob Lowe in St. Elmo’s Fire, the sex appeal was there. But when we talk about the movie that most makes you think about sex, are we talking about that scene in Ghost with the clay? Are we talking about Indecent Proposal, where a rich man wants this specific married woman so badly he decides to offer her a million dollars for one night? Nope, we’re talking about Striptease. Right now, Striptease is on Netflix, but not for much longer. The film is leaving Netflix on June 1st, so if this one is in your queue, now is the time to decide if you’re going to watch it.
While Striptease may not be beloved, it’s memorable. Somehow, this Demi Moore movie with an 11% score on Rotten Tomatoes comes up in many conversations, and there’s a fair amount to talk about.
So let’s take a closer look at the unforgettable, sexy, and sometimes hated, Striptease. Let’s start off with a one-minute trailer from this 1996 movie. You’ll notice that Demi Moore is the starring character. She’s playing a stripper. And the movie immediately seems a bit over-the-top in a way that some people find wonderful fun and some people find too much. Take a look.
Today, Striptease has what we would consider a fairly predictable story line. A newly single mother is fighting for custody of her young child. Her ex-husband is a jerk, even a criminal, but the court is willing to let him have full custody because he has a job and she has no documented way to support her child. If Demi Moore’s character is going to appeal this ruling and gain custody of her child, she not only needs to get a job, she needs to get one that earns her $2,600 for court fees. How is she going to do that? She’s going to strip. And because she wants the tip money, and she’s a determined woman on a mission, she’s going to do it with a confident, sexy power walk and foreceful clothes removal. She needs the money. She’s got this.
This is the kind of storyline that could be made for a dark thriller, but Striptease is a foray into comedy for Demi Moore. When she took on this movie she was at a high point in her career. She had recently been in Indecent Proposal, Disclosure, and The Juror. As such, she was paid $12.5 million to be in Striptease. This was a huge deal. It was the most an actress had been paid at that point. Following up Demi Moore’s sizable payday for this comedy, actresses like Sharon Stone, Jodie Foster, Julia Roberts, and Meg Ryan were empowered to raise their own prices. Moore’s payday here had a ripple effect for women in Hollywood that made a huge difference. Not what many would have expected from the production of Striptease, but a major step toward more equal pay in Hollywood was made here.
One of the important parts for Striptease is played by Burt Reynolds, though he’s a little difficult to recognize. Reynolds plays the Congressman David Dilbeck, who books private sessions with Demi Moore’s character, earning her a higher payday so she can regain custody of her child. Reynolds plays a lot of the funnier scenes in the movie, and is a talented actor, but the movie still fell flat with audiences and critics. Roger Ebert thought this may be because Demi Moore’s character wasn’t funny, despite the fact that she was funny in the original novel the movie is based on. The New York Times review suggested that the problem was that the story and characters were simply too inconsistent. This can make it difficult to get lost in the story and laugh at the jokes.
Whatever the problem, it didn’t land well with audiences. Striptease had a generous budget of $50 million and earned out at $113 million. This wasn’t a loss, but it wasn’t what the studio had been expecting for the Demi Moore comedy at the height of her career either.
If you think you might want to check this one out, it’s one that’s fun to talk about after you’ve seen it. You have until the first of June to stream this one on Netflix before it’s gone.