Magic Mike is a thing that exists in the real world. Think about that. On Friday, a Steven Soderbergh- (multiple Oscar-winner Steven freaking Soderbergh) directed movie starring Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey based on Tatum’s pre-acting life as a male stripper is being released in thousands of theatres across this continent.
It’s not that it shouldn’t exist, it’s just amazing that it does. We all spend so much time whining about the state of the modern summer blockbuster, and then this movie comes along. Whatever magic today’s special effects wizards have pulled off in this summer’s superhero and marine-martian battleship movies, it has still seemed more believable than this movie’s mere existence.
If you’re like me, you’re just happy you get to see Tatum return to his up-stepping roots and dance a little bit. Since his star-making turn as Tyler Gage in the first iteration of the Step Up franchise, Tatum’s mostly focused on romancing young starlets and killing ninjas. But he’s never been better than when he was bringing a little hip-hop flavour to the stodgy halls of the Maryland School of Arts.
Unfortunately, Magic Mike’s decidedly adult subject matter probably means we won’t get to see Tatum heroically save the day at the seniors’ showcase, but if you’re a fan of dance movies at all — and in case you can’t tell, I really, really am — you’ve got to be excited to watch the man tear up the dance floor again.
Weirdly, there are also no penises.
The last couple of years have seen a pretty dramatic rise in the frequency of male genitalia on screen, so it’s hard (not a boner joke) to figure out why a movie about stripping never goes full frontal.
I imagine that those of my readers who enjoy scantily clad men won’t complain about seeing some of Hollywood’s buffest leading men gyrating wildly in their thongs, but it’s still a bit weird that there are no dicks. I know next to nothing about male stripping, but aren’t penises kind of the point?
Magic Mike also reaffirms my favourite development in the Hollywood landscape in recent years, which is Soderbergh’s decision to only make ridiculous movies. Whether it was casting Sasha Grey in The Girlfriend Experience or Gina Carano in Haywire, Soderbergh’s made it his business to prove he can make movies no one else can.
The guy clearly knows he can do whatever he wants, and he’s embraced it. Magic Mike’s not going to win any awards, but Soderbergh’s already won his awards. He’s so good that he doesn’t have anything left to prove. Instead of worrying about it he just goes about making the movie he wants to see. Who else has that freedom? And more importantly, is there anyone else who takes advantage of it?
Elsewhere, this weekend’s other new releases are distinctly underwhelming.
People who love Family Guy are probably really excited for Ted, but personally I’m holding off on Mark Wahlberg until M. Night Shyamalan finally makes the sequel to The Happening we’ve all been waiting for. It’s Happening… Again! is just way more interesting to me than a piss-talking teddy bear and, in my opinion, Wahlberg’s got to take my personal preferences into account when making career decisions.
Also opening is a movie titled People Like Us, by which I assume they mean ridiculously good-looking white people. The only things I really know about this movie is that there’s a typo in the plot summary on Yahoo! Movies, the relationship between Elizabeth Banks and Chris Pine looks seriously incestuous, and hey, it turns out that Michelle Pfeiffer’s totally not dead. What are the chances?