Last week, I was one of those people who watched Magic Mike, the harrowing tale of a charming and promiscuous man who dreams of the day when he can make furniture out of found objects like huge jet engine parts, empty oxygen tanks, and used epidural needles. But while he’s waiting for that dream to come into fruition, he does what any other man with ripped abs and a tight buttocks in his late twenties would do: he strips.
My Magic Mike experience is what I like to call “normal-folk moviegoing”. By that, I mean I actually paid to watch the movie rather than go to a press screening. I felt as though I was slumming it by not having a special section just for press — and I actually had to wait in a line! How common of me!
Nonetheless, the audience that attended was exactly as I expected: groups of twentysomething gal pals and gay dudes ready to see man ass and bulges all night long. I, on the other hand, was watching it by my lonesome. Unfortunately, my mission to take my most masculine guy friend to watch the movie and eat cupcakes after was a total failure. I didn’t mind. This gave me the opportunity to get a headstart on looking like a creepy old Asian man watching a rated R movie all by myself.
As soon as the movie started, I, like always, appreciated director Steven Soderbergh‘s distinct retro-but-not hues he dipped the movie in. Then we see our hero, Mike (Channing Tatum) step out of bed in post-morning/post-coital/post-threesome) bliss and we see his ass. The audience hoots and hollers. Then we see his bang-buddy played by Olivia Munn with her titty balls just flailing about. No hoots and hollers. I was pretty much un-entertained by the whole lot of it. This set the tone for my entire mood of the whole movie. I sat there in the theater, propping my head up and stuffing my face with yogurt covered pretzels to help aid in my dissatisfaction. All the while, everyone around me was celebrating all the schlong on the screen.
I guess you can say I was watching this movie for “the articles” — but even that was flaccid for me. The bromance between Alex Pettyfer and Tatum was hokey, the romance between Tatum and Cody Horn (who, I think, was what Kristen Stewart was supposed to be) was a lukewarm sponge bath, and everything else in between was hot dog filler. Surprisingly, Matthew McConaughey was the only part of the movie I enjoyed. The movie, I felt, was supposed to be this clever joke and Matthew “King of the Shirtless” McConaughey was the only one who was in on it. Everyone else seemed to take the movie too seriously which made it unbearable (and watching Matt Bomer try to play it straight and do X was a bunch of malarky).
I can bitch about how much Magic Mike did not meet my expectations all I want, but the real thing that bothered me is how nearly EVERYONE loved it. It’s Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes which means the majority of the critics thought it was a decent movie and the horny cat calls in the theater while I was watching it is testimony to how much the audience loves it.
I. DON’T. GET. IT.
Do people like it because of the man meat they show (the stripping scenes are minimal)? Do they like it because of the shallow storyline? Or do they like it because of Chan the man? Perhaps I am just an asexual prude. Or maybe I am just jealous of how the guys on screen remind me how un-beefcakey I am. Or maybe I feel awkward watching white boys dance. Or maybe I am just a big ol’ party pooper. Nonetheless, I went in looking for something entertaining but instead walked out disappointed. What could have been something on the level of Boogie Nights was nothing but a mediocre hand job in a seedy champagne room.
The public’s love for Magic Mike stuck with me throughout the entire weekend and well into a screening for The Amazing Spider-Man I attended. While waiting for the movie to start, I could not stop talking about how much I did not like M.M. and how I found it mind-boggling in how audiences adored it. It was like a frustrating mystery that I would never solve…like Lost but with Channing Tatum. I was so passionate about how anti-Mike I was, that it took over my being and I did not give myself the chance to enjoy this unnecessary reboot of The Amazing Spider-Man. In fact, I got even MORE annoyed. Everything that Andrew Garfield was saying as Peter Parker/Spider-Man was irritating the hell out of me. In fact, his taunting of the criminals he was about to attack was douchey, classless and assholey. On the brighter side of things, I do like Garfield better than Tobey Maguire as Peter Parker. Other than that the movie was just a regurgitated version of the other two but from the bowels of another director with more backstory and intensity with a lowercase “i”.
It’s as though Magic Mike was a pebble in my shoe that would never come out. That said, it was the opposite of an amuse bouche. It made my bouche bemused and bored — and that spread to everything else. Like an S.T.D.
I think the lesson I learned here is: movies about strippers can cloud your judgment about other movies you watch afterward…or maybe I just thought both movies were lame. That would be an easier explanation.
Magic Mike and The Amazing Spider-Man are currently playing in theaters.