This bold, not to say foolhardy, strip club exposé aims to get under the skin of five women who doff their stuff at a suburban LA fleshpit. Radford enlisted his actresses in an experiment in improvised character construction, but the result is not so much a Short Cuts-style kaleidoscope, as the celluloid equivalent of a particle collider. Spanning a week or so in the women's lives, the result is over-burdened with incident and trauma, as each character vies for screen time, picking at some psychic scab or teetering on a brink, in rococo style. Hannah's Angel, a ditsy blonde dreaming of child adoption, flirts closest with cliché; Tilly's histrionic, downward-bound Jo supplies the bitterest material; Ayanna's underage, overconfident Jessie gets somewhat lost in the mix. Most interesting is Sandra Oh's Jasmine/Kathy, through whose liaison with a fellow poetry aficionado the film finally finds a glimpse of heart. Radford waves his camera around in sub-Steve Bochco fashion, torn between talk and tit, but fails to thread it all together.
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