Mirren, Julie Walters, John Alderton
Buena Vista Home Entertainment
Date: May 4, 2004
Review posted: May 3, 2004
Gregory L. Amato
“You're nude in The Telegraph, dear. [Pause] Can you pass the
bacon?” -Jessie’s husband Richard
Several women involved with their local Women’s Institute in the
small town of Knapely, England decide to experiment with their
annual calendar in order to raise more money for charity. Despite
being well past their physical primes (all are middle-aged), the
women dare to pose nude. Based on a true story.
A comment from Access Hollywood on the front of the DVD case says
"The Full Monty . . . Female Style!" Thankfully the film
isn’t the hackneyed "tailor-made to your demographic" copy that
such a comment might suggest.
Yes, The Full Monty is about a group of men middle-aged who
bravely decide to do a full striptease. Both movies also have groups
of people led by a single energetic, charismatic lead (Robert Carlyle
as Gaz in The Full Monty and Helen Mirren as Chris in
Calendar Girls). Calendar Girls is therefore very similar
in concept, but the film holds its own by not being a copy.
gives a deeper look into the home lives of the women who decide to
pose nude and the implications of their success, taking the film in a
direction that is completely its own. How will their husbands take
it? Their sons? Posing nude for charity becomes courting the media for
exposure becomes posing nude for commercials which will finance more
calendars, etc. As Chris continues to lead the way, Annie (Julie
Walters) wonders if the women have strayed from their path, and
whether all attention they’re getting from the media is good.
few laughs lighten the mood, but the funniest parts concern the girls’
apprehensive photographer, Lawrence (Philip Glenister). No one is too
keen on posing nude with a male photographer present, an opinion
voiced by several of the girls. In one scene, they discuss
alternatives and how to get around the "male" problem while Lawrence
sits unacknowledged behind them, only to have disappeared when they
finally turn around to address him.
is its own film, at times witty and poignant, but it’s not of the same
caliber as The Full Monty. How much viewers enjoy the film will
probably be an exact correlation to how enjoyable the premise sounds.
presents Calendar Girls in 2.35:1 anamorphic
widescreen. The video is better than average, with little grain
but a few noticeable halos. Otherwise I didn’t notice any
Buena Vista presents Calendar Girls in Dolby Digital 5.1
Surround Sound. A French track is also available, as well as
subtitles in English and Spanish. Dialog is occasionally hard to
understand, but most of the time it’s fine.
Other than the handful of previews
included on the disc, the Calendar Girls DVD includes
three featurettes. The Naked Truth (15:12) is a documentary about the real "Calendar Girls" told by
several of the women who posed. Original photographs and footage
show how closely the film resembles the real happenings it
Creating the Calendar
(6:22) is about the creation of the film’s calendar. Nude scenes
and how they were approached get commentary from the actresses,
director Nigel Cole, and photographer Jaap Buitendijk.
A few deleted scenes are included,
though none are particularly noteworthy unless you want to see more of
the band Anthrax hanging out (and dancing) with the women. The scene
with Chris’ husband Rod (Ciarán Hinds) and their son Jem (John-Paul
Macleod) is the only one that might have added anything.
If The Full Monty with women sounds appealing, great. Based
on a true story or not, Calendar Girls still has that air of
familiarity, and isn’t quite as humorous or engaging. That said, the
film is not a rip-off of The Full Monty, and in fact aspects of
Calendar Girls are more complicated and look at the same
general premise (older/unattractive people getting naked) in different
ways. Few extras don’t make this a compelling disc to have to buy,
though they are worth watching. Borderline rent/buy.
VERDICT: RENT IT
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