Why some girls were disappointed with Magic Mike, why I loved it, and why y’all might

July 1, 2012

Magic Mike made a hell of a lot of money this weekend for an R-rated movie — $39.2 million — with 73 percent female audience. Magic Mike also only received a B Cinema Score rating (vs. Ted which scored an A-).

I was invited to a screening Monday, where enthusiasm was high, and then saw it again with two friends whose take was more tempered (and then other girls I know that saw it outright didn’t like it). And I think it’s probably an issue of marketing and expectations against the reality.

Like, I think people were expecting something where Magic Mike is the solution to this:

And while the film is many things, it really isn’t that.

The defense/pitch I was making in the basically 80-percent-male WFB office last week was: There is a lot of ridiculous stripper stuff, but it’s got some Boogie Nights to it, it’s got a lot of bro moments (Mike’s explanation for why 19-year-old Adam is working at the club: “Money, women, and a good time.”), and Olivia Munn wanders around topless in the second scene, the morning after a three-way with Mike and another girl. I don’t think there are actually a lot of guys who’d walk out of the movie and be like, “That was the worst thing I’ve ever seen.”

But what that also means is that it’s not the solution to that equation above. The movie, like a lot of Steven Soderbergh movies, is preoccupied with the realities of certain pockets of capitalism. The film follows stripper, auto-detailer, construction-crew manager, and aspiring custom-furniture maker Mike into a loan meeting with a bank; it hits again and again his quest for equity in a new strip club to be launched in Miami; and, when something goes bad, the film has Mike dive into his savings to help somebody out. (This, incidentally, is how you know Channing Tatum is a real deal movie star: Both screenings I was in gave this collective groan when he starts counting out the bills.) It also circles a few realities of club drugs, and the general seediness of strippers.

I liked all that! Magic Mike offers a realistic Tampa, with people who work in real jobs, and struggle to make the right decisions (and, in one case, ultimately do). Matthew McConaughey begins as the goofy owner of the club, and turns somewhat sinister and pathetic as it continues–you might not care for that, I suppose, but he’s very good. I even liked Alex Pettyfer as the toolish college drop-out who Mike gets a job stripping, and Cody Horn as his hard ass sister.

Stripping itself isn’t all that sexy–it’s actually kind of weird, which I think a lot of girls maybe forgot–but Channing Tatum dancing is, and always will be. And that’s for whom this movie is an excellent showcase (which…I mean, that’s kind of what I care about, if I’m being honest). It’s not a goofy camp fest, really, but you do get the benefits of Soderbergh’s naturalistic approach, which suits Tatum, and the ever charming Mike dancing and flirting and making fun of people. That’s something, right?

Some actual (positive) reviews worth reading:

Peter Suderman on the Soderberghian elements of Magic Mike – i.e. the capitalism study, the normal jobs, the realistic Tampa.

Keith Phipps on the business of it all, as well.

Drew McWeeny on the Channing Tatum and Steven Soderbergh’s success here

Kurt Loder on the brass tacks of the movie

{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

rose July 1, 2012 at 4:04 pm

Agreed and I’m a woman

Leave a Comment