With “Stripped Down,” multihyphenate Elena Krausz has attempted to concoct either a soft exploitation film with strong feminist leanings or a moody feminist meller with a soupcon of porn. Regardless, her dream-driven narrative about world-weary stripper Lily (Krausz), who exacts revenge on her brutish husband/club manager (Marcus Jean Pirae) after years of abuse, lacks the delicate tonal control and subtle smarts required for such an intended half-surreal exercise. An ambitious, even sympathetic personal project shot on a G-string budget, the long-shelved “Stripped” will court further limbo after its four-wall bow at Gotham’s Quad Cinema.
Pic chronicles the comings and goings at a dimly lit strip joint known as “the Nest” (helmer Krausz’s use of darkness and offscreen whooping inadequately imply big crowds), where Lily stays centerstage. She acts as sorority mom for a motley group of down-and-out ecdysiasts and keeps the books, coping with an audit from an initially disapproving, then understanding tax man (Ian Ziering). Joining party girl Cara (Lisa Arturo) and neophyte Wren (Bre Blair), Lily completes a pole-dancing “trinity of hotness,” the threesome meting vengeance on Lily’s hubby (apparently born with the ready-made porn name Larry Long).