WARNING: SPOILER ALERT!
I figure enough time has passed to give my take on the highs and lows of the latest cinematic sensation to hit theaters this summer. A little backstory:
My family was planning a trip to my best friend’s house for the weekend. She has a nice house and a pool, which she so graciously invites us to visit whenever we have the time. The adults sip on frosty beers poolside as the kids wear themselves out in the pool. It’s awesome. So anyway, she tells me that when we arrive, all the girls are going to go see Magic Mike. I had no clue what that was because I live under a
rock pile of unfolded laundry. She helpfully clued me in that two of the most delicious men on the planet, Joe Manganiello and Matthew McConaughey, would be disrobing in it. Mkay, sounds interesting.
Meanwhile, a couple of weeks before our trip, I was complaining to a friend of mine that I never get to go out. So she calls me later and says “let’s go see Magic Mike!” Craving female companionship, I say okay, although it’s a Monday night. The last time I paid full price for a movie was in the nineties, I think. We either wait for the video or hope to catch it at the dollar theater. This is not really my kind of movie, either. I probably would never have seen it had it not had the lure of girl-bonding attached. And here I am agreeing to see it with the knowledge that I would soon see it again. I am desperate for love, I tell ya!
So we walk into the theater, sans popcorn because I hate paying for it-but I did have a pint of beer to help get me in the mood for naked men. Actually, I chugged it and ran to get another before the movie started. So I had a nice buzz developing as the previews rolled. The theater was nearly empty, mostly girl-couples dotted throughout the seats in a geometrical formation that strategically placed the most distance between each group. None of us made eye-contact. One lone girl came skulking in just as the previews were ending-the Paul Reubens type, perhaps.
The next couple of hours was endless, with a few sprinklings of dick-slinging and simulated skull-f*cking of rabid females that pay men for the privilege of having sweaty ball sacks teabagging their chins as butt cracks graze their foreheads. Sadly, there wasn’t enough of this depravity to break up the horrid “dialogue” and “acting.” They ruined the movie by trying to add a story and make us give a shit about the characters, which I didn’t. Bring on more nudey dancing, please! The worst crime was that Joe Manganiello was simply a fringe character who barely pops his pecs before he is put in the corner (though the “pumping” scene gave me a laugh). The only thing that shines in this flick is Matthew McConaughey’s hilarious depiction of Dallas, the smarmy strip-club owner. His strip performance is sublimely ridiculous and his physique is pure perfection.
Seen rarely in promo shots or previews is Kevin Nash, who plays the character of Tarzan. When I first saw him, I kept wondering “WTF is Mickey Rourke doing in this movie?” I thought perhaps it was a clever cameo for us old ladies who were introduced to softcore with 9 1/2 Weeks. But no, it’s not old Mickey Rourke, it’s old Kevin Nash swinging on vines. I would have been really angry if I got him for a table-dance. He’s the one my girlfriends might gag-gift me with.
I actually learned from my husband of all people that Channing Tatum used to be a stripper as a young man. This movie is loosely based on his experiences.
There was surprisingly little eroticism in this flick. The dancing was fun. Channing Tatum was super-sexy onstage, but awkward and a bit sad off the stage. I was hoping for the slightest bit of romance and meaningful sex to break up the sausage-party that is Magic Mike. When he finally decides to leave all that shit behind and tearfully open himself up to the “good girl” he’s been hovering around, the screen goes dark. THE END. Seriously? I actually yelled “THAT’S IT?!” Where is the gloriously soul-satisfying scrogging that should have occurred to make it all worthwhile? Nah, NO SEX FOR YOU! How can you have a movie full of naked men and basically NO SEX? They only show that uncomfortable aftermath where you can’t wait to get your clothes back on and slip out the back door. And that’s how I felt when leaving the theater. I saw my feelings reflected in the eyes of a man who so sweetly accompanied his wife to the movie.
But then came the SECOND VIEWING. I studiously avoided telling my girlfriend that this movie seriously sucked. I did, however, unload to my sister, who would also be coming along. We met a bunch of other girls that I didn’t know for dinner and drinks before the movie. Again, I prepared myself by imbibing a healthy amount of alcohol, to lube my brain a bit before exposing it once more to such utter inanity. The ladies at the table were giddy, I mean seriously. Some of them seemed to be on the verge of orgasmic delight in anticipation of the nakedness to come. One of them jokingly propositioned the waiter to “give us a preview” of the movie we were about to see. We all laughed as she sexually harassed the harried male. Hey, now he knows how WE feel!
The mood was infectious. I was anxious to observe the ladies in “the wild.” Like a sociological experiment, I cast myself as the researcher. Unlike my first experience, this time the theater was PACKED! There were (presumably gay) males and females pressed together like a giggling sea of horny sardines. One of the girls I was with couldn’t catch her breath. She kept fanning herself and exclaiming how excited she was. The following two hours was a blast! All of the catcalls and ribald commentary was hilarious. I found myself gyrating in my seat to my favorite dance scene, where Tatum grinds his way through Ginuwine’s “My Pony,” which was a favorite booty-shaking song back in the day for me. In this scene he inserts his tee shirt into his crotch and rubs it around before tossing it to the crowd of girls eager to get a whiff of his manliness (LMAO).
As expected, there was an audible groan as the movie ended abruptly, but most everyone had a smile on their face. My sister, who came expecting to hate the flick, said “that wasn’t so bad.” My friend was disappointed in the scarcity of naked Joe, but I benefited from having seen it previously. It’s one of those times when something is so bad, it’s good. Like when you say, “this stinks, smell it!”
I have seen both male and female strippers in real life. My “field research” suggests that ladies don’t actually get sexually turned on by male dancers. The thrill comes from objectifying the men and the illusion of power that it gives us to be paying them to entertain us. It is a safe way to express our animal natures, with none of the threat of male aggression that we usually encounter when we let our hair down. It gives us fantasy, when in reality if we allowed a man to bump and grind on us, he would take it as an explicit invitation. We want to have fun, we like to dance, we love looking at pretty men, but we don’t necessarily want to take one home. Conversely, men watching females get quite turned on and may fantasize about actually bedding the stripper. This is just my own take on things.
I still say this movie sucks. But it would be worse if you saw it on video. If you must see it, go with a huge group of drunken ladies on a weekend night. It’s the only way.