Channing Tatum is a really good movie flirter. If I could blush (I am physiologically incapable of blushing) I would blush during all his movie flirting scenes. If he was in Friends With Benefits instead of Justin Timberlake, that movie would have been a smash hit. Because Channing Tatum is a great movie flirter AND a bonafide Movie Star. I don’t know how it happened but that’s what it is: you can’t take your eyes off him. In his limited range, he not only excels, he totally owns it; he commits to it, he knows what he is, and he doesn’t try to be more, and he isn’t embarrassed by it. Channing Tatum saves his movie from being horrible. Magic Mike isn’t horrible. It is however terribly uneven.
But let’s start with Matthew McConaughey who has never been happier. Pure euphoria. So happy he can’t contain himself. I’m not sure he was this happy on his wedding day. Matthew McConaughey spends the majority of the movie in leather pants with his shirt off. I’m not sure he wanted filming to end.
Other quick notes - Alex Pettyfer is great to look at, and it was like art imitating life. He is that boy - an impulsive, uncontrollable little punk.
And don’t ask me about Joe Manganiello. I have no use for him. There is no presence. To me he’s the male version of Pamela Anderson. What would you think of a dude who told you he was attracted to Pam Anderson? I’m just saying ...
Matt Bomer, as beautiful as he is, is rather unremarkable in the role. Sorry.
Not that any of you planning to see this movie care about the actual filmmaking merits of it but just in case, as a film, it needs some serious editing. There are too many dance sequences and they are much, much too long. Could easily each be trimmed by at least 45 seconds. What? Cut down on the shirtless scenes? Yes. Otherwise it’s Chippendales and not a movie.
As for the script, there are several parts of it that don’t make any sense. For example, as Maria pointed out when we were leaving the theatre, the female lead in the film, who plays Alex Pettyfer’s sister, appears to have the same relationship with her brother as she does with her love interest Channing Tatum. Their opening scene together, at home, is so sexually charged, you feel gross the moment it’s revealed that they’re related.
It’s also ridiculous when Tatum’s character confronts Olivia Munn, his casual sex partner, and finds out she’s engaged. Her fiancé is sitting beside her. He graciously excuses himself when Tatum shows up at the restaurant. In what world would that actually go down???
And then at the end...
When Tatum realises that he can’t do it anymore, can’t strip his way to his dreams, he takes off abruptly, leaving the club and that life behind in tears. Overwhelmed by emotion and disappointment, he goes to see the girl, the girl who made a difference, and even though he’s there to talk, their conversation immediately becomes foreplay instead, and all of a sudden they’re talking about how they have 7 hours to have sex before her favourite breakfast place opens.
The plot was irrelevant. And, well, they didn’t even bother pretending.
That said, it’s not like Magic Mike didn’t have its moments. The depiction of the lifestyle seemed realistic enough. They addressed the drug culture involved in the profession, the desolation, the loneliness that comes from connecting only with people on a purely physical level - these stark realities were indeed portrayed rather honestly, although I’m not really sure if the message actually landed.
And this might be my problem with Magic Mike - not necessarily with the film itself but the response to it. As I mentioned earlier, they were already lubed up by the time they took their seats in the theatre. The woman in front of me kept flipping her hair through the show, screeching at the screen every time Tatum clenched his ass - a lot. There are those who will argue that this is simply the female equivalent of when men hit up peeler bars, an equalizer if you will. Is it? Or is it simply reductive? When a man goes to see a woman take her clothes off, she’s inferior to his paying power. When a woman goes to see a man take his clothes off, is he inferior to her paying power, or is she still inferior to his dick power? It’s not like she’s leaning back in her chair, controlling the situation. None of those women in the theatre or in the club are in control of anything. They are hysterical, horny, pliant, and subordinate. Nothing about that suggests assertion. I don’t have anything against a good time. But don’t sell it to me like this is some kind of reversal of misogyny and there’s empowerment to the exercise. You watch those faces and there is nothing empowering about how these women are behaving.
Men aren’t held back by objectifying women. They’re also not held back when they’re objectified by women. In fact, when a man gives a woman the opportunity to objectify him, the result still might just be that she ensures she isn’t going anywhere. She’ll give it all up for love. She’ll give it all up when a hot guy straddles her in the face.
Besides, if this really is about flipping the exploitation over to the other side, how is it that there were multiple long shots of bare titties and only one shadowed glimpse of a cock? This is a movie about male strippers and there’s not one head shot of a free swinging penis??? Meanwhile Olivia Munn has her shirt off for an entire scene, and another blond woman, with an ample bosom, romps around a bed, also for half a scene, and spends the other half inviting Alex Pettyfer to massage them. Maybe it’s a ratings board issue. And if it is, that almost makes it worse. That pretty much sums up the problem right there.
Anyway, look forward to hearing your thoughts after you see it. Magic Mike opens today.
Attached - Channing Tatum promoting the movie in New York.