She takes her clothes off and dances, and it's a comedy.

That's one way to feed an insecurity.

I did my part, I showed up ready to laugh a lot or sport a woody. I did neither. The movie: Striptease, the result: a lot of stripping, (me of my money and amusement, Demi of her dignity and proven track record.) and one good tease (that it might have been a decent movie.)

The movie starts out pretty darned bad. Then it gets worse, then it turns ugly and lame, then people started to leave the theater. It was bad, but it threatened to be worse, yet never quite went there. Every time it looked like it was just headed for the great suck-fest in the sky, it made a funny, and the audience laughed, more out of a sense of duty than anything else.

The story, as they try to tell it, is that Demi Moore loses a child custody battle to an ex-husband so deranged, he's right out of a marvel comic book. Then she needs money to get the child back, so she becomes a stripper. Along the way she gets messed up with a perverted congressman and the sugar Mafia.

I hear tell the book is hilarious. I can see how that could be possible, problem is, the makers of this movie didn't want to make a comedy, so the script is lost in some sort of netherworld. I figure, they paid Demi $12.5 million for this, they'd better see some titty. So they showed Demi's titty. It's nice titty. It's Demi titty. I guess after the $12.5 million, the budget was shot to hell, so they didn't have enough for a worthwhile script.

There are lots of semi-naked dancers (it's R, not NC-17) and for some unknown reason they all dance to Annie Lennox. One has a chest so large, you figure the boys at ILM created another computer-generated monster. The dancing is, well dull. Now I'm not a strip-club aficionado, but I would imagine the dancers don't usually bounce around to ballads. Horny boys like to see things move!

What remained from the book is commendable. It has enough elements of a good farce, if only it's mamma had let it out to play. The characters are nice and distinct, and full of life. Burt Reynolds as the sexually challenged congressman and Ving Rhames as the bouncer both deliver fantastic performances, And if everyone else had played it likewise, this might have been funny.

But they don't.

Demi is lost in the wrong movie. She acts very elegantly and full of dramatic tension. Except this is not A Few Good Men or Ghost. And her performance is not in step with the spirit of the movie.

Come on, we tried a sex drama with Showgirls, haven't we learned anything?

The sad fact is that Demi as a real life stripper is not quite as exciting as Demi the cartoon gypsy (Hunchback...) and she probably shouldn't have tried to compete with herself one week apart.

The best thing about the evening for me, was a billboard I passed on the way in to the theater. It's for a topless driving school. "A good record is just a lap dance away."

I ran a few red lights and drove 110, but I didn't get a ticket. I'll try again tomorrow.

To Sum Up: Striptease - bad, 1 1/4 Babylons. Lap Dancing Driving School - good, and scored on an entirely different scale.

Do yourself a favor, if you need a horny little number to tide you over, don't spend $7.50 in a darkened theater on Striptease.

Most adult film houses are much cheaper.

So they tell me.

Note from the Ombudsman:

We here at Self-Made Inc., feel that it is important to set a good example for the kids. That's why we sent out our own Self-Made Critic to review The Nutty Professor, a cute little comedy about an obese black man. Problem is, The Self-Made Critic ended up at a showing of Striptease, a perverted little sex fiasco. We're sorry, and do not condone the S-M Critic's actions or his endorsements of adult movie houses and driving reckless for the sake of a lap dance. These are two of society's greater ills, and he should, and will be punished for his words. We're thinking disco.

Unfortunately, we have to print his words - contract thing - so you had to read them. Again, we apologize, and hope that you will not take one man's words and judge an entire journalistic empire. Even if that man is the empire's backbone, figurehead, CEO, reason for existence, and golf pro.

Thank you for your time -

Henrietta Bingswaller
Ombudsman and President of Moral Affairs,
Self-Made Inc.

PS: he's on a much shorter leash and you probably won't hear from him again until we let him out to see Independence Day, which is a nice little movie about Alien Invasion. (Go Humans!)

Addendum: I just learned that the God-Almighty-Huge breasts in the movie are, in fact, real, or at least silicone. This news gives me one thing to say:

"Run! Run for your very lives!!! For the love of Christ, Run!!!!"