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“The Full Monty” was a classic film that captured the hearts of audiences around the world. Now, after more than two decades since its release, Robert Carlyle returns in the bittersweet sequel. This much-awaited film brings back the beloved characters from the original story and continues their journey in a world that has changed dramatically. Fans of the first movie will not be disappointed as “The Full Monty” delivers the same heart, charm, and wit that made the first one a hit. Join us as we delve into the world of “The Full Monty” sequel and see what the characters have been up to all these years.
While watching The Full Monty, the follow-up series to the 1997 film of the same name, another fairly recent work came to mind, one that felt like this sequel was occasionally attempting to follow in the footsteps of. While a film and not a series, Danny Boyle’s magnificent Trainspotting 2 was also a sequel playing out decades after the events of the original story, which also featured Robert Carlyle reprising his previous role. Though his characters in each work are quite different, with one being an antagonist and the other being much more of a protagonist, the stories share connective thematic tissue. In both, existential questions about survival and legacy abound, and the plot matters less over what it reveals about the characters who are getting up to various shenanigans. Where the two differ is in execution, with Trainspotting 2 proving to be more visually inventive and striking a balance that The Full Monty can’t quite fully pull off. It isn’t a total wash, but it is a slightly baggy series elevated by the charm of flawed characters just trying to find their way in the world. Decades after they came together for a group striptease act in order to get through unemployment, we now see what present-day Sheffield looks like for each of them.
An early shot shows the theater fading into disrepair as the next generation walks by it, unaware of the stunt that served as the driving force of the first film. Most of the gang is back along with some new faces added to the ensemble. Gaz (Carlyle) now has a teenage daughter, Destiny (Talitha Wing), a kid with a good heart who takes after her father in getting into trouble. Dave (Mark Addy) is working at the local school where he takes a troubled young kid under his wing. He also remains largely oblivious to problems of his own happening at home with his wife Jean (Lesley Sharp), and the two have grown apart following a painful loss. Horse (Paul Barber) has fallen on the hardest times, living off his disability that has come under greater scrutiny and may soon be taken from him. Lomber (Steve Huison) and his husband Dennis (Paul Clayton) operate their café where many of the characters spend their time chatting together. Among them is Gerald (Tom Wilkinson) who mostly offers snarky remarks while browsing his computer. While some of the episodes that explore this work far better than others, the overall experience is a mirthful yet melancholic one worth riding along with.
‘The Full Monty’ Falls Short of the Film While Making Its Own Moves
Written by Simon Beaufoy, who penned the screenplay for the original film, as well as Alice Nutter, The Full Monty is a series that will likely tickle the fancy of those looking to spend more time with these characters. However, in terms of whether it is more than the nostalgia we have for it, that can be hit or miss. When the most compelling characters are given center stage, the show manages to strike richer themes that ring loud and true. As Gaz, Carlyle excels at hitting the comedic and dramatic notes, proving to be one of the players most adept at finding the proper balance. In one moment where he is contemplating shooting a stolen dog, one of the first of many silly narrative escalations that can shift into being more serious, the monologue he gives trying to rationalize it to himself is appropriately dark. More than anything, it is a simple, effective gag solely because of the way he carries the scene. It doesn’t need any sort of big goofs; the comedy stems from the verve he puts into the delivery. On the flip side of this, Barber as Horse carries some of the more dramatic notes. In what becomes more and more pressing, the particulars of this society, which couldn’t care less about who gets left behind, have disastrous consequences for working-class people. It isn’t always enough for friends to look out for each other — the problems go deeper, showing how everything from the healthcare to education systems meant to better their lives are crumbling.
Sometimes this is literal in terms of infrastructure, while in others it is bureaucratic, with small cruelties beginning to pile up until catastrophe hits. It is as truthful as it is quietly terrifying, culminating in a finale where the costs of this become unavoidable. While some of the characters have been able to navigate the rise and fall of the injustices of the world, others are not so lucky. There is an echo of the spectacular recent series Rain Dogs in this story, even if The Full Monty doesn’t feel quite as grounded and willing to explore more complicated questions about who gets left behind. In particular, some of the episodes midway through tackle real issues in less than tactful and occasionally misguided fashion even as it pulls away from most of the other character elements in order to do so. While some parts of this feel more authentically interwoven with the story writ large and provide humanity to the characters, other parts do not. Namely, the episode devoted to newcomer Darren (Miles Jupp) starts to seem like it is filtering real inequities surrounding immigration through his own guilt as the one charged with evicting people. It does end on a proper punchline to set this right, but the way to get there remains quite a bit clumsy with many a narrative stumble. Some storylines wrap themselves up too neatly for how painful they are but still manage to find their footing.
Carlyle and Addy Help Elevate ‘The Full Monty’ Towards the End
The saving grace to all this comes back down to the characters. There are plenty of rough edges to the storytelling, but you’re willing to go with it just to watch the guys go through some unexpectedly moving growth. Carlyle remains charismatic as all hell, giving a monologue towards the end about how the law fails people in a manner that is simple yet effective. It ensures we can feel Gaz’s passion and heartbreak in a way that resonates.
Elsewhere, Addy gets a silent scene by the water that really hits home. With a simple look, we can see a lifetime of pain that Dave is still not entirely certain he will be able to handle on his own. It is in moments like this where The Full Monty begins to gesture at something approaching a cautious yet still earned optimism. As the characters come together to share a conversation, proclaiming that they must do better to look out for each other in what remains a cruel world, the tragedy of society’s failings makes their camaraderie that much more important for both them and us to cling to.
All eight episodes of The Full Monty premiere June 14 on Hulu.
In conclusion, the sequel to the classic film ‘The Full Monty’ is a bittersweet take on the original. With the return of Robert Carlyle, the movie manages to recapture some of the charm of its predecessor. The storyline is emotional, promising to take the audience on a journey of laughter, tears, and introspection. The characters are relatable, each struggling with their own set of problems as they try to achieve their goals. The film does an excellent job of balancing humor with somber themes, telling a heartwarming tale of friendship and perseverance. Overall, ‘The Full Monty’ sequel is worth watching for those who are fans of the original film, as well as for those who enjoy a good story of hope and redemption.
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