It may be old news on movie reviews here at Old Ain’t Dead for a while, because I recently came into 3 months of free HBO, Showtime, Cinemax and Encore. I’m going to have a ball catching up on things I haven’t seen for the next 3 months. The first thing I watched in this movie bonanza was Magic Mike.
Magic Mike takes place in the world of male strippers. It features Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, the organizer and promoter of a crew of male strippers. The Mike with the magic moves is played by Channing Tatum.
Alex Pettyfer plays Adam, a dissolute drifter that Mike brings into the stripping world. This introduces Mike to Adam’s sister Brooke, played by Cody Horn.
There’s a lot of naked male flesh – I’ll get to that in a minute.
First, the plot. Mike is saving his money to open a business making one-of-a-kind furniture, for which he has a real gift. He works all sorts of jobs to generate enough cash to fulfill his dream. On one of his jobs, he meets Adam, whom he befriends. I fail to see why Mike likes Adam or why he helps him – the guy is a mess and obviously trouble. It must be a reflection on Mike’s sterling character. Mike introduces Adam to his boss at the strip club (Matthew McConaughey) and gets him a big money gig as a stripper.
Mike is pining over the girl who got away, played by Olivia Munn, while also falling for Brooke, who was enabling Adam’s irresponsibility long before Mike came along and joined in the game.
We see many, many strip shows mixed in with the story of Mike and his longing to be a creative furniture maker with a nice girlfriend.
The guys strip down to bare everything but the essentials and cavort in highly sexualized ways. Young guys, perfect bodies, lots of hip grinding and thrusting and sexy sexy. Before I express an opinion about the sexy sexy, take a look at the teaser.
I may be really misjudging the intentions of the people who made this film, but I think it’s a comment on the double standard we have in American society about male sexuality and female sexuality. It’s like that awful host at the Oscars who pointed to every woman in the audience who bared her breasts in a role while nary a penis appears on a screen anywhere. Was he just being an ass or was he making a point about equality and the sorry double standard we live with? Magic Mike seems to be scoring points for feminism.
If this film had been about women, they would have been shamed as sluts. There would have been a public outcry. When Miley Cyrus does a sexy dance with Robin Thicke, the only person who gets vilified is Miley Cyrus. But nobody has a complaint when men bare it all, wriggle their asses, and simulate sex for a group of screaming women. In fact, when this movie first came out I saw all sorts of positive tweets about how awesome the hunky guys were and not a single complaint about bare asses.
Magic Mike is a role reversal. The person caught in a seamy sex worker’s life is a man, not a woman. The person who is desperate to make enough money to build a different life outside of sex work is a man, not a woman. Otherwise, it’s a film we’ve seen a hundred times before with women doing all the sexy, sexy. It’s a story about the objectification of the male body instead of the usual objectification of women. There is one exception to the role reversal. We don’t see the penis. No penis, no perfect analogy to what women are asked to bare in films.
Magic Mike is a fair movie, not great, but not awful. It’s full of gorgeous guys who are true eye candy. In many ways, it’s a chick flick: predictable plot, likeable protagonist, love interest, lovely to look at while you’re viewing it, but not something you’ll remember forever as great drama.
The film was released in 2012. DVDs will be available in October, and can be preordered on the magicmikemovie site.
All images ©2012 Warner Bros.