Friday, June 29, 2012

Magic Mike has abs on the Outside and a Hallow Personality on the Inside

Magic Mike (2 out 5 Stars)
Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich, Ocean's Eleven)
Written by Reid Carolin
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, and Matthew McConaughey
It's opening night and there is a theatre full of mostly straight women, a good amount of gay men, and a handful of straight men that were dragged by their girlfriends sitting in the theatre waiting for this highly anticipated movie.  As the movie started the women in the audience were giggly and awkward as the men started stripping or were taking their clothes off.  This made it seem as though they had never seen a film that exploited male sexuality at such a level, the thing is that they probably have not (but more on that later).  The giggling and chatter died down after a few minutes, and the "plot" started.

The film centers around two men Mike or as he is called on the stage "Magic Mike" (Channing Tatum) and Adam or "The Kid" when he gets on stage.  Mike is an entrepreneur; he wants to do whatever he can to make money so that he create his own business and make furniture.  Mike has has a construction business where he tiles roofs, a few other things, and of course he strips.  Mike meets Adam when he answers an ad on craigslist, don't get too excited it's not not from the men seeking men section, but in the section where people are looking for work.  Adam's naivete leads him into Mike's world of stripping, and Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) gives him a chance at the stage as "The Kid."

Before analyze this film too deeply, there are moments that make this film fun, and Channing Tatum is the most charming leading man of the year; he will have three films that make over 100 million this year.  Tatum has had a meteoric rise this year, and all of his prove that he has charisma, hell the sequel to G.I. Joe film had to be reshot because they initially killed him off, but realized that was a huge mistake. The man can dance too!  I loved watching him twirl, gave me goosebumps. The other men were hot too, but was it worth the hype? No.

People have been talking up this film mainly because of the looks of the men involved and hoping to see a little more of them.  No one talked about the story, and what the film would be about, nor did many people care.  The problem with focusing on the exterior is that this was yes the showed a lot of ass, and there was a lot of gyrating on stage, but nothing that could not be seen in a skinemax film.  In fact they show more but because these men are "famous" people cared more.  I think the interesting thing with this is that rarely do films focus on men's sexuality from this lens.  We often watch films objectify women, but we never get to see this happen.  I enjoyed that there was a role reversal, and I hope this film makes a lot of money, mainly because I want Hollywood to realize even more that there is power in marketing films to a female audience.  The film capitalizes on women, and gay men hoping to see more than they would on the internet.

The problem with Magic Mike is that it has abs on the outside and a hallow personality on the inside.  The film is all style and no substance.  If I wanted to see a movie about beautiful men who get naked I would watch porn, the men are beautiful, I do not have to pay to see them, and they do not last as long. I will admit I know I did not go to see this movie for substance, and I know most of the people I saw the film with went with little to expectations regarding the story.  We go what we asked for.  While the film focuses on the main two strippers, and Dallas (to some extent) the other men Joe Manganiello, Matthew Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash are left to play insignificant background players, who are only there as window dressing.

The big question on the table is does the story or substance matter?  Steven Soderbergh tried to make this film more than a joke, and while he made it a fun ride on the stripper pole I do not know what he wanted the audience to take away.  The main message of the film seemed to be do not let success get to your head, but there was no pay off to the message.  Even the ending seemed to prove leave things in a state of limbo.  The film tries to be more than just naked men stripping, and with some great editing that adds to the film there is an attempt to be more than just a quick shiny object to distract from the summer heat, but the film fizzled.

I expected more, I wanted to something from the film.  The movie did not have to be about the substance, but even the dancing left me feeling like one of the films purposes, sexual desire/fantasy or even arrousal for some never happened.  If the film was going to be about the sex make it about that, or if the film was going to try and weave in a strong story then try that, but the film tried to be too much and never found the footing it needed to be something more than an empty thong.

No comments: