Sunday, July 1, 2012

Magic Mike

Curiosity about the film.  Being a fan of Soderbergh since Sex, Lies, and Videotape.  Curiosity about whether the predominantly female audience would be as rowdy as I'd heard.

Those reasons and more led me to join a group of women in seeing Magic Mike last night.  I don't regret going, and the movie certainly offered some of Soderbergh's trademark flourishes, but I also can't recommend the film without serious reservations. 

The movie's story is dumb.  I won't even bother to summarize it, because, let's face it, no one is going for the plot. 

The characters are worse.  There's not a single human being in this film I would want as even a casual friend. The smartest characters are fairly dumb and venal, and the dumbest are far worse.

The acting ranges from okay to horrible.  Matthew McConaughey gives the best performance of the film as the head of the strip team. Channing Tatum displays three expressions: stonefaced dumb, slight smile, and confused dumb. (Yes, the two dumbs are slightly different.) Fortunately for him, the lead actress, Cody Horn, is so amazingly bad, such a sucking vacuum on screen, that Tatum looks almost like a real actor in the scenes next to her.  The only other good performance comes from Olivia Munn, who not coincidentally has the most interesting character to portray.

None of those things mattered to our theater's audience, however, because they came to see mostly nekkid men dancing around on screen.  When the men were dancing--and grinding and humping and grinding and humping--a great many of the eighty or so women in the theater (though none of those in our group) screamed almost as if they were at a live strip show.  The men definitely looked good, with body's ranging from Alex "the Kid" Pettyfer's "I wish I were that thin" physique, to Channing "Magic Mike" Tatum's "I'm juicing but only a little, and I hate ab work" body, to Joe "Big Dick Richie" Manganiello's "Holy shit, hard work and a ton of steroids really pays off" awesome build.

If Soderbergh wants to make the DVD a hit, all he has to do is offer all the dance scenes in full and, if possible, uncut, and those seeking nekkid hot men will flock to it. To paraphrase one of our group, "When your boyfriend dumps you or treats you badly, grab a pint of Chunky Monkey, pop in that bad boy, and watch the dances."

Watching hot men strip does nothing for my crotch, but if you're a woman or man who goes that way, I expect you will forgive the rest of the movie's many shortcomings and enjoy it. 

If you're expecting to like anything other than the dances, though, you may want to consider an alternative entertainment.

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