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'Crazy Horse' review: You can look, but you can't learn

Matt Pais, @mattpais

RedEye movie critic

February 23, 2012

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** (out of four)

Any performance involving choreography requires practice, whether the bodies shaking it have tops on or not.

So celebrated documentarian Frederick Wiseman--whose photo doesn’t really make you want to see his take on exotic dancers--isn’t tapping into anything profound by featuring rehearsal scenes at Crazy Horse, the famous Paris nightclub where naked women perform sensual, elegant routines to artists like Antony, not Def Leppard. The girls on stage and the directors off stage put in a lot of work to make the show as good as possible, but debates about technicians vs. stage managers and how strongly to tilt one’s buttocks don’t exactly count as revelatory. Mr. Wiseman, who are these women who choose to perform at Crazy Horse? Have they specifically chosen this club over any other place where you can dance naked, and what enjoyment or struggles result? A creepy employee claims that Crazy Horse represents the pinnacle of beauty, but, sorry, you’ve seen more beautiful faces walking the down the street earlier today.

A delicate dance to a dreamy version of “Toxic” (not sung by Britney) hauntingly encapsulates what Crazy Horse is about. But in more than two hours, Wiseman should teach us the history and the current personalities behind the club, not just save us the airfare of going there.

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mpais@tribune.com. @mattpais