Directed by Paul Thomas, filmed by B. Skow (if that fuckin’ matters)
2 hours, 36 minutes
STRIPPERS AND SWORDSMEN
Monique Alexander, Shawna Lenee, Jaelyn Fox, Darryl Hannah, Greg Sterling, Anthony Rosano, Jerry, Nick Manning, and Stephanie Swift
It’s kind of beautiful the way one film can so easily encapsulate all the hopes and dreams of a nation, boil them down to their naked and sexy bits, cast some startlingly attractive performers to act out the roles, and weave a beautiful tale of sex, sex, more sex, and a little more sex that sets everything to rights, just like we always hoped. This one kind of brought a tear of love for our misogynist and fucked up society to my eye; it’s really quite a beautiful thing—like dirty and dusty coal being compressed and compressed until it becomes a sparkling diamond, Stripper pushed American sexual values into an easily digestible two and a half hours, cleaned them up, shaved off most of their pubic hair, gave them spray tans, and pumped out one lovely, mind-numbing, five-roper of a jizz jubilee onto my brains—all while teaching a valuable lesson.
Couched in fairy tale terminology, the moral of the story in Stripper, Vivid’s new feature starring Monique Alexander, is that if your husband stops showing interest in you sexually, the best thing to do is get a gig at a strip club he frequents to surprise him onstage, which will instantly kick-start his libido when he starts thinking of you in the same trashy, daddy-hating, make-it-rain, she’s-only-good-for-sex kind of way he already thinks about the other strippers. One of the strippers he already thinks about in this way demonstrates how it’s acceptable to have an affair with the aforementioned disinterested husband because he’s paying you, and that furthermore, simulating stalking and rape scenarios in order to fulfill the fantasies of this sick weirdo is perfectly all right. If you’re the lonely wife and you happen to also be a terrible dancer who couldn’t strip her way out of a paper bag, like Monique Alexander’s character Mo, the film further illustrates that it’s ok to have lesbian sex with the club’s manager in order to get the dancing gig. (As a matter of fact, it’s more than ok to have sex with the club’s manager. It’s fucking fantastic…and mandatory.) And, in the end, once that single dancing gig is over and the husband has rushed home from the strip club to have wild bathroom sex with his wife, the happy couple will of course live happily ever after in a state of constant coital bliss, never to face the specter of sexual boredom, wandering eyes, latent bisexual tendencies, or suspicion over the wife’s probable sluttiness, ever again.
You know, I really like trite stories with happy ending like this one. It’s like a modern day Cinderella tale, where instead of being overworked by her brutal stepmother, the heroine is undersexed by her faithless and intimacy-challenged husband. Instead of going to the ball in a beautiful gown to win his heart, the girl goes to a strip club and fucks the manager, then gets on stage in a skimpy outfit—and both of them get the guy by dancing! Marital bliss is achieved, some stripper gets to have dirty rape sex in a bathroom stall, and the hot club manager gets to take advantage of a desperate women. Actually, pretty much everyone involved here either gets to take advantage of or be a desperate woman, and who doesn’t want to keep perpetuating stereotypes like that? No, really, I’m serious.
Any society worth its salt earns its right to exist by inventing and then aggressively perpetuating sexual stereotypes, then shaming people who publicly support them so that nobody can admit they believe in them. In this way, hypocrisy (it’s not ok to stalk and rape a stripper, but it’s ok to pretend to stalk and rape a stripper if she’s into it!) and generalizations (men only want their wives if they’re like strippers) form the unspoken backbone of the way we look at the world. We wouldn’t know how to behave ourselves if we didn’t have stories like this one to guide our responses to reprehensible male behavior and really stupid, self-abasing female behavior. We’d have no moral compass, for Christ’s sake! Thank Jesus we’ve got porn movies like this one to reassure ourselves that our inherent fucked-upedness is normal, healthy, and morally upstanding. —Miss Lagsalot