How far would you go to care for a sick loved one? What would you do to ensure that they get the very best care? The answers to these questions and more are answered in the new indie drama Lap Dance, a film which explores the relationship between people and people doing things that aren’t very favorable. Sacrifice is the main theme presented and while not a perfect film, it does offer some decent performances, a clever premise and some top notch direction.
The film follows Monica (Ali Cobrin), a young actress with a lot on her plate. Her father (James Remar) is not doing so well. He’s bedridden in a hospital and the prognosis is rather grim. Hospital bills are piling up and Ali is running out of options. That is until she decides to become an exotic dancer to make some quick cash, much to the chagrin of her fiancé (Robert Hoffman). The bulk of the film then shows how the deeper Monica gets into the world of stripping, the darker her life becomes.
Lap Dance is a standard human drama with what appears to be a modest budget and some uninspired plot devices. Much like a revamped Indecent Proposal, this film uses Monica’s progression in exotic dance as a way to show her wavering relationship with her concerned husband-to-be. A flirtatious association with a club regular Chicago (Datari Turner) makes things complicated and prompt eventual jealousy and tension. Monica is at the forefront of all of this and her decision to strip has a significant effect on all those around her.
Writer/director Greg Carter is a very gifted filmmaker and his work on Lap Dance is rather strong. The camerawork is tight and the lighting is near perfect, especially in the strip club, where dark blues, purples and reds enhance the atmosphere and highlight the very lovely ladies. Some of these starlets consist of B-movie beauties such as Carmen Electra and Briana Evigan among others who elevate the film to great heights despite their brief moments on screen. Other notable stars who should have had more moments in the film are James Remar who plays Monica’s ailing dad. His scenes are limited to a hospital bed which is unfortunate because he’s had a long career of unscrupulous individuals with very physical scenes. Here, he plays against that typecast. Mariel Hemingway plays Monica’s aunt and she too has limited scenes. It’s almost like she wasn’t in the movie at all.
Based on Greg Carter’s real life experience with his own wife, Lap Dance is a very personal project for the director. To stand aside and watch his wife dance for money must have been uncomfortable to say the least. Monica is a strong-minded woman who attempts to keep her eye on the prize (her sick dad), all the while being seduced by nude dancing and slick playboys. Lap Dance delves into the psychology of people trying to do right by their family. The actors are all in fine form here, especially Ali Cobrin who plays Monica as a determined young woman hoping to make things right for those she cares about. Though average at best, Lap Dance is decent drama worthy of a viewing.