REVIEW: MAGIC MIKE
Bek: In celebration of “Magic Mike XXL” coming out soon, my writing buddy, Charlotte Nash (Char), and I thought we’d get all nostalgic and review the now hailed classic (by us) “Magic Mike”. Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Out of Sight, Ocean’s Eleven, Contagion), this movie is supposed to be based on Channing Tatum’s early years as a male stripper. For real! I even researched and the evidence is presented below:
Bek: This photo makes me feel creepy.
Char: Must have missed his face with than tanning spray.
Bek: The movie also stars Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, a penis pump, and a cast of bronzed dudes, waxed within an inch of their lives.
Now, I personally think this movie is about Channing Tatum’s character taking what is essentially the heroine’s journey, which is more internal, and about discovering the courage to save yourself. Tatum’s character has to journey inwards to evolve and grow, as opposed to having fight some external baddie, like the hero’s journey.
Char: It’s definitely a story of discovering how your current place in the world is limiting you – at the end, he’s essentially the same person, but he sees the world around him differently. But you know … I must have some kind of naked-man amnesia. I’ve been recommending this movie to anything that moves for the last two years, so I enthusiastically chugged it a second time. And then it was like I looked at the carton and found the milk expired a month ago. I think I remember more frivolity and less grit. Perhaps shouldn’t have watched it in the daylight. But! The Tates is certainly an atypical male lead, especially for Hollywood. In fact, I think he has to do all that stage humping just to remind us he’s a man.
Bek: And what a man, what a man, what a mighty fine man. Might I add, his love interest has a rampant case of Resting Bitch Face.
Char: She absolutely does. She’s also the moralising mum-character.
Bek: Total kill-joy. Though, if I found out my little brother was stripping, my facial muscles might seize up as well. For the record, my husband watched it and thought Channing was a douche-bag.
Char: He’s a Nice Guy™ in a sparkly mankini.
Bek: I know! Poor Tates. All that serious manscaping would be hard, but he makes the sacrifice. And, as I pointed out to husband: he’s a sensitive douche-bag. He’s also a roofer, a baker and candle-stick maker. Or something. But he really, REALLY just wants to make crappy furniture from things that wash up on the beach. Or something.
Char: And he’s funny – there’s actually quite a bit of snarky wit in the dialogue. Probably the most underplayed upside of the film, besides the disturbing vision of McConaughey bum-grinding on The Kid’s arse.
Bek: I cringed watching that scene. McConaughey’s character is so manipulative and slimy.
Char: I’m most impressed that Tates’ character reflects all these things traditionally foisted on the female character – he’s the one who the girl is funny about calling back, he keeps the plastic protectors on his car, he’s a softy with the kid, and oh yeah, in the last scene he JUST WANTS TO TALK.
Bek: I did find the ending very anticlimactic.
Char: And if this was a hero’s journey, Matt bum-grindy McConaughey would be doing something unspeakably e-vil with the club, and Tates would have to fight him. Being the heroine’s journey, McConaughey is more a soft villain, because in the inward journey, the real antagonist is the whole world the heroine (Tates) is in, and the way she (he) allows it to limit her (him).
Bek: Agreed. Soft or hard, McConaughey is totally the villain. I mean, I’m no cactus expert, but I know a prick when I see one.
Char: And somehow despite the snow-storm of currency leaking from Tates g-string every night, he still needs a loan. Or thinks he does. I assume he realises this is stoopid after the final credits and just buys the damn workshop with all his cash.
Bek: That’s a lot of sweaty one dollar bills.
Char: But with XXL coming out, I’m left with one big question – how the **** do you make a sequel without invalidating that whole arc?
Bek: I know! I know! It’s a sequel, so sequel rules apply. Such as: you may not survive the movie if you have sex. Wait. That’s horror. Maybe: one last score before retirement?
Char: That’s really the only place they can go. Or Tates’ has a long-lost brother who needs money – lots of money or the mob will kill him. That leaves the way open for Nicolas Cage to appear in flasher pants. Please tell me that’s what they did.
Bek: I am so there.
Char’s Grade: Ew, Bek. 8 inches of sexy policeman baton out of 10