One of the awesome things about having an intern is that you can ask her to do things for you that you don’t have time to do yourself, and then co-opt her thoughts and opinions as your own. That was the original plan behind sending her to see and review Magic Mike last weekend—Lisa had been asked a few too many times what she thought of Channing Tatum’s newest opus, so she asked Mary if she could go see it and report back.
Mary’s subsequent review had us in stitches, so Lisa’s plan be damned!! Enjoy:
When I was asked to go see Magic Mike and write a blog post about it, I thought it was a joke. When I asked my boyfriend if he wanted to go with me to see the movie, he REALLY thought it was a joke. Once I assured him it wasn’t, he suddenly remembered that he had vague but urgent plans for that afternoon–and every other afternoon I might try to reschedule for. The conversation went something like this:
Me: Hey, what do you feel like doing today?
Boyfriend: I dunno… no plans. You wanna do something?
Me: What about a movie? I was gonna go see Magic Mike for work.
Boyfriend: What’s Magic Mike?
Me: It’s the stripper movie.
Boyfriend: Oh… who’s in it?
Me: Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum, some hot guy I’ve never heard of…
Me: Yeah. Guys. But they don’t get naked or anything. At least I don’t think they do. Wanna go?
Boyfriend: No! I mean… I have to work.
Me: It’s Saturday…
So I went by myself.
And I have never felt like a bigger creep than I did walking up to the ticket counter to say, “One for Magic Mike.” At 1pm on a Saturday. I didn’t even try to explain that it was for work. Because seriously–who would believe me?
I went to a theatre inside a mall, thinking that the teeming seas of 13-15 year old mall rats would be less likely to judge me than to ask if I’d pose as their mom so they could sneak in too. But I still I kept my sunglasses on until I got to my seat.
Inside, I was one of only eight or nine people, and the other viewers that I noticed were a middle-aged couple and a mother with her teenage son and daughter. The son was on crutches, which is, I assume, the reason his mother and sister were able to drag him to see this movie.
Popcorn in hand, I was fully prepared to spend two hours in the dark staring at Channing Tatum’s abs. And I did a lot of staring. But there were also some surprises.
When Lisa said that Matthew McConaughey was getting Oscar buzz for his role as a male stripper, I laughed. But my skeptical side has been silenced. Why? Because he managed to be totally gross for the duration of the film. Impressive, huh? Sure, his love of snakeskin, BDSM accessories, and perpetually greasy hair helped (was that some kind of stripper oil, or just sweat? ‘Freshly showered’ was certainly not a possibility) but he must have had to change up his regular acting routine to pull it off. I picture the director on set yelling, “Okay, Matt, now switch from smoldering eye contact to creepy stare!” From a distance, nothing seems to have changed, but when he looks into the camera, I got that creepy something-is-crawling-on-my-skin feeling. He gives off some pretty serious crazy vibes in this movie. Like at any minute he might try to lick you or something. Like a lizard. I don’t know if he’s a method actor, but if he is, I’d imagine he killed the python trim on his cowboy boots himself.
Aside from being a constant reminder of what happens to male strippers once they reach their 30s, his character, Dallas, is also a major source of the comedy that keeps this film rolling along in between the steamy dance numbers. These were some of my favorite moments:
1) McConaughey’s character has a marble statue of his own head in his living room.
2) Their 4th of July party looks a lot like those new Captain Morgan commercials. Or at least a lot more than I expected it to. I guess there can’t be more than two possible explanations for a bunch of dirty, greasy, well-muscled men in vests hanging out on a sandbar: its either a stripper beach barbecue or a bunch of marooned pirates.
3) Tatum also (briefly) dresses in drag. To do an impression of Marilyn Monroe. Complete with blonde wig, white dress, and platform pumps. He even waved a little American flag while singing “Happy birthday, Mr. President.” (No, it wasn’t part of the strip show. But it was, apparently, his idea. Sadly we couldn’t find a photo, but you can read about it at HuffPost).
An hour into the movie, I still wasn’t sure if it was meant to be a romantic comedy or a cautionary tale–Tatum has a brunch date with a reluctant love interest as well as a run-in with some thuggish guys who break his kitchen table in half looking for drug money–but I found myself not really caring. It was fun and entertaining, and the film could have hung its lap-dancing and booty-shaking scenes on a much thinner premise, so I appreciate that there was actually something there besides just the eye candy (though between you and me, the eye candy would have been enough).
There was no shortage of pelvic thrusts in Magic Mike’s dance numbers, but the majority of Tatum’s stage time looked more like deleted scenes from the last Step Up movie than a striptease. Fun to watch? Yes. Erotic? Not exactly. Maybe working at Coliloquy has just desensitized me to this kind of thing, but I think the performances in this movie were used more to showcase talent than to seduce.
On that note, I’m petitioning for Coliloquy to give these guys a customized erotica book deal. Choose your favorite dancer and then make some picks: Costume? Music selection? Body grease? The choices are endless…