I’m not in the habit of writing movie reviews, and by now, I assume that most of you who were, like me, all hot and bothered at the prospect of seeing not only Channing Tatum but also Matthew McConaughey (who’s about to be a daddy, btw) as God intended have already seen Magic Mike, so this post is both unusual and untimely.
For all the discussion about whether women like strippers (Conclusion: some of us do, the rest of us refer to dicks as “wieners” and don’t think “the helicopter” is a skill), I haven’t read enough about how truly bad, stupid, and sexist this movie actually was (except for the glorious dance scenes).
I didn’t expect a movie about male strippers to redefine female sexuality, but Magic Mike went out of its way–as usual, as with anything in pop culture or mainstream media–to celebrate boring old masculinity and the patriarchy. And also, it was stupid.
Basically, all the sex scenes in the movies are threesomes and/or blow-jobs with incredibly drunk girls who the strippers picked up after the shows, because stripping, like cool cars, good jobs, and clean sneakers is just another way to pick up women, who are readily available as patio furniture.
The female character we meet in the beginning, Joanna (played by Olivia Munn) seems like a really wild, open-minded, educated, party girl who can really hang with the boys, but then, oh, wait, sorry, she has really profound emotional issues. Oh, and a fiance. Her openness to threesomes is apparently just a cover for her daddy issues. Also, the entire Joanna-subplot was completely unnecessary to the story and did not move it an inch. That’s not surprising, since the female lead, Brooke (played by Cody Horn), walking in on a just-about naked Mike and a completely naked woman passed out on his bed also did not move the plot an inch. She was just worried about her little brother and never even asked him if that girl was someone he was serious about, or if she had died in his bed.
There was another subplot about drugs that resulted in Mike giving “The Kid”, his young protege, just about all the money he’d ever saved, the money he was going to use for his custom-built furniture business…once he got a bank loan. (I don’t know why he needed the loan. He already was making furniture, he had a beautiful house on the beach, a giant truck, and spent all his money drinking. Oh. That’s why he needed the loan.) Anyway, the generous gift only resulted in Brooke, the Kid’s older sister, agreeing to sleep with Mike, which I think she was going to do anyway, especially after his impassioned speech where he told her “I am not my lifestyle.” That’s one of those gems that has been ringing in my ears for days, but I am pretty sure the reason I don’t know what it means is because it doesn’t mean a damn thing. And also, what kind of college kids throw a party with boys in one room, girls in another, and then invites male strippers? What weird children.
Also Mike tiled a roof for one day, but even though the creators of this movie went to often painful lengths to show us the most tedious details about each character’s day (there’s like a good 60 seconds of Mike driving to work with the music turned to a respectable level right there in the first five minutes of the movie), they never really returned to the whole “roofer by day, stripper by night” angle.
Mostly, Magic Mike sucked. And then even in the parts where it had a chance not to suck, it went out of its way to suck. Like when one of the dancers picked up a heavy chick and tried tossing her around, it could have been a nice moment where we see that women of all shapes and sizes can be appreciated sexually. Instead, and of course, he just about drops her and limps off the stage with lower back pain. Well, fuck you very much Steven Soderbergh.
If I could see an abridged version with just the dancing and not really any of the dialogue, I might be interested. Magic Mike was no worse a movie than You Got Served or Burlesque when it wasn’t pretending to have a plot. But the constant need to reassure American audiences that masculinity is in no way threatened when men “pretend” the be the object of female sexual desire was really tiresome and distracting from otherwise delicious abs, shoulders, arms, bums, thighs, etc.