My husband is going to hate this post.
You know what's crazy? The Chippendales. How confusing was that for kids in the ’80s who watched Chip 'n Dale consistently punk Donald Duck? (The dance troupe got its start in 1979, and I'm assuming that kids born after 1990 didn't give a shit about Jack Hannah thanks to the Internet.) I remember hearing a mom talk about Chippendales in hushed tones with a group of other moms at a BBQ or Tupperware party or something. I was really surprised that a mom was trying to hide her cartoon watching from a bunch of kids who loved cartoons.
THEN, I saw the SNL sketch. You know, the one with Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley both trying out for The Chippendales. Then I understood what those moms were talking about. Sort of. The nature and purpose of the dancing still wasn't quite clear to me.
Anyway, growing up involves a lot of discovery about how the world is filled with sex, and hearing about male exotic dancers kind of blew my mind. Adult women would pay a sweaty dude to rub his butts all over them? I'd seen plenty of dude butts growing up (that sounds weird, but I had a brother whose friends liked mooning people), and the thought of having one of them gyrating around all over things grossed me out pretty bad. The smell, I assumed, must be terrible. (Now I know that the smell is probably something like a pink frozen drink that a grown woman might get drunk on and then do things she's ashamed to ever tell her daughter/gay son about, even when they're "old enough.")
I guess this is the part where I say, "Then, when I was nearing 30, I saw Magic Mike, and I like, totally GOT it. Naked dancing dudes RULE!" But that just wouldn't be true. What I will say is, "Fine, World, you win, Channing Tatum is pretty cute, okay? And DAMN can that dude dance! It's kind of surprising, you know, because he's so BULKY, you'd think that he couldn't move like that. But, he was in the first two Step Up movies...although for some reason he didn't make it to Step Up 3D. Does he die or something? Wait, don't spoil it, I've got a lot of shitty summer movie watching to do, besides Step Up 4 is coming out this year."
You know what Magic Mike is about, don't you? Basically, it's about a 19 year old rapscallion named Adam (played by Alex Pettyfer, who looks like Ashton Kutcher if he had a smaller Adam's apple and a bulbous forehead) who meets Mike (Channing "Don't Hate Him" Tatum) at a construction site during a day of work and then is whisked away into the sometimes glamorous, but always seedy world of male exotic dancing. Troubles arise when Adam takes a turn down the generic, but still dangerous path of drug use and sales. MORE troubles arise when Mike (Magic Mike) starts to fall for Adam's sister, Brooke (played by Cody Horn, daughter of Walt Disney Studios chairman Alan B. Horn—I'm sure this all ties back into the disambiguation of Chip 'n Dale from The Chippendales somehow), a grumpy but well-meaning beauty who works hard and parties weakly. EVEN MORE troubles arise when Magic Mike suspects—correctly—that his boss, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey in the role he was fucking born to play), is screwing him over on some deal...blah, blah, blah...money, naked dudes in Tampa, and wild rump shaking.
Here's the thing that was surprising to me about the whole experience: Soderbergh tried to give this hunk of skanky movie meat a plot. What the hell was he thinking? He promised a bunch of horny women (I'm imaging them all in mom jeans) hot male strippers—which, to be fair, this movie has in tan, sweaty, dry humping spades—but he also gave them Channing Tatum crying a single tear in a dark car over how unfulfilling his life is. The back and forth between fluff and poorly constructed "drama" made it seem like the movie was made by two different directors, then chopped up and zipped together.
I mean, do ladies even care about the hooker with a heart of gold story? I still can't tell. Hey, but at least the New York Times made sure that everyone knows it's not just straight ladies who liked the movie. (NYT: is it news that a bunch of gay dudes wanted to go see a movie about hot dudes dancing?)
Sure, the movie is getting good reviews, but are the reviewers only thinking about the part where Channing Tatum flicks his wiener around to "Pony" by Ginuwine? We'll never know.
Final word (and I totally called this before I saw it): Magic Mike is a little like The Wrestler but with strippers, and not nearly as good. But fine, yeah, I kind of liked it. And shit, that dude can dance.