aNewDomain — I know what your first question is. It’s the one that you aren’t asking. And the answer is no. Channing Tatum doesn’t do the pickle shot in “Magic Mike XXL.” He doesn’t. There will be no pickles on these all-beef patties.
And if you’re wondering what is the point of a movie about male strippers without any schlanges in evidence. The answer to that probably has to do with the hypocritical ratings board.
I also know what your third question is going to be, too. And the answer to that one is yes: tWitch does look pretty good in a banana hammock.
Now that we’re done with all that, here’s my “Magic Mike XXL” review.
Why “Magic Mike XXL” Is Really A Bro Movie.
There’s plenty of beef in “Magic Mike XXL,” and if there are no pickles, the movie at least grudgingly gives you some buns.
There is dancing, though. Channing Tatum has moves. And tWitch has serious moves but doesn’t get to showcase them much. It’d be a shame to show up Magic Mike.
But when all is said in done, “Magic Mike XXL” is movie for guys, really, though it’s kind of in disguise.
I saw “Magic Mike XXL” on July 3. A Friday night. There were about 30 other people in the theater. They were all women. Then there was me. I was there for aNewDomain, so I had my eyes and ears on to everything. Aside from some metacommentary in the advertising, nothing else was all that notable.
So if this is really secretly a bro movie, why was the place full of women? Is it because of the way the movie was sold? I guess, because “Magic Mike XXL,” despite what you’ve heard, is not primarily a beefcake movie. I mean it is a beefcake movie, but it’s a roadtrip movie first. A stoner road-trip buddy movie.
I mean, please. Are we so homophobic we can’t stand a little male nudity? And if so, why do we watch so many action films?
Some amusing scenes involve peeing on the beach, crashing the team bus (a fro-yo truck) while on Molly, and Channing Tatum getting whacked in the jollies.
Yep. It’s a complete roadtrip film. And truly, the whole film from start to finish is a male fantasy.
You heard me right and I’ll say it again: “Magic Mike XXL” is a bro movie.
It’s just being marketed wrong.
In “Magic Mike XXL,” men serve the women!
All the powerful players in “Magic Mike XXL” are women.
The conference gate-keeper is a woman.
Jada Pinkett Smith plays a club owner — the club basically is a brothel for female customers. In it all the guests are queens and men their humble servants, there only to make them happy. Also, all the women in the club are black ladies with tons of money to spend. A side character, played by Andie MacDowell, is a 50-ish divorcee who managed to keep everything – everything! – in the divorce. She got the house, the Rolls, the wine cellar.
And so she teaches her daughters to sow their wild oats, to play the field.
Empowered women. You heard me. And why is that a male fantasy? (See, I’m still doing the mind-reading trick.)
It’s because the message is: If the world is fair, then we deserve what we have.
That is a bro message exactly, right? But wait. Stay with me here.
Not just a male fantasy, it’s a white male fantasy
In “Magic Mike XXL,” women don’t have jealous, hypocritical husbands holding them back. And they have money to burn — on strippers. Lots of it. In this movie, guys getting a divorce need a “male rights” lawyer because women usually just get it all. In this world, women own all the businesses. And men are the ones who have to work hard with our hands.
In the film, Mike works 20-hour days trying to start a furniture business, while women sit back and reap the rewards — of being pretty.
And, like I said, there are empowered black people?
Why is that a male fantasy? Well, it’s a white male fantasy, really. But for all the same reasons. Because if integration already happened, then we white guys don’t owe anybody anything.
This is what libertarians think: that we all get an equal start, that there is social justice, and that therefore the government has no business mucking around in our lives picking winners and losers. Fundamentally this is not true. It’s a fantasy. And it’s the fantasy in this movie, too.
BTW: I could look just like Channing Tatum, if I wanted.
And men know how to exercise. I mean, I could have a body exactly like Channing Tatum’s if I wanted, and he isn’t even as pretty as I am. I’m just to laid back to put in the time.
That’s another male fantasy this bro movie feeds into. That women really just want us for our bodies. And that all we have to do is get in shape and flash our abs and women will pour dollar bills all over us.
I should note there’s something strangely feminine about Tatum showing his hairless, tight stomach about two thirds of the way into the show. Guys like you and me would look much more manly in his place, which is another brilliant theme of this secretly bro-targeted movie.
That and the fact that money, really, isn’t that important to women after all: There are dollar bills all over the floor, always. Nobody ever stops to pick any of them up.
Now, “Magic Mike XXL” does a fair job of portraying the seedy side of things — the narcotics, the booze, the washed-up aspect of things; the joblessness and hopelessness underlying the lives of exotic dancers. But the films fails to demean those exotic dancers properly by having them stoop to sweep up the money on the floor. Not a tsunami of bills, but the grudging, wrinkled ones and twos (used to fool dancers into thinking they got 20s) they get one at a time, shoving them into their g-string to be counted and taxed by the club owner.
The house gets a percentage.
Climb over the strippers, Channing.
Now I have to be a little rough with Channing Tatum here. What I’m saying is that Channing Tatum is more like Magic Mike than you probably want to believe.
I mean, acting is not a staircase to the top, a gliding Donald Trump escalator. It’s a greased stripper pole. And sometimes, to make it to the top, you have to climb over some other strippers.
I mean, actors.
Tatum seems to have agreed to play in a “Ghostbusters” remake. The press releases are downplaying the antifeminist aspects of this agreement, but the story seems to be essentially this: Paul Feig is making a Ghostbusters reboot, with Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig, and Leslie Jones and Kate McKinnon, maybe. Four female ghostbusters.
When this news was announced, the Internet went crazy.
First out from under their nasty little rocks were the misogynist trolls. Women-haters. I won’t repeat any of the remarks made here, but the general sentiment was that the Ghostbusters were male in 1984 and we shouldn’t pretend the world has changed even a bit since then. You know, in terms of women being able to be funny and have careers and maybe get acting roles other than as love interests for the men. For Channing Tatum, I mean.
And what guy doesn’t want to be a sex slave, right?
And unto this, Drew Pierce. Men demand male Ghostbusters. Sony Pictures, with the apparent blessing of Ivan Reitman, seems eager to comply. Channing Tatum is apparentl on board.
But what does this have to do with Magic Mike?
Glad you asked! It’s because “Magic Mike XXL” is a male fantasy, a made up world in which equal opportunity exists, and in which men are the down-trodden sex slaves with nothing to sell but their bodies and their labor.
And if you want to be an actor in LA, take note: Even the nerd characters have to have abs and broad shoulders now.
It’s easy to see this fantasy as the reality, that women really can sleep their way to the top. But in Hollywood, that’s not privilege. That’s necessity.
The only way up is to be naked.
And, so, here’s Channing Tatum, ready to claw his way up the greased pole over the backs of Melissa McCarthy and Kristen Wiig.
Right. So here’s the bottom line
Anyway, the ladies in the theatre with me did enjoy Magic Mike XXL. It got some good laughs. And the women liked the dirty parts — the convenience-store impromptu strip-show is a classic. They actually applauded at the end of the movie, which hasn’t really happened since, well, “Ghostbusters.” Who does that anymore?
Then there was a line for the ladies’ room. Of course, there was obviously no line in the mens. Later, I heard all the women who watched the show in there with me discussing the show in excited tones. They were happy.
In “Magic Mike XXL,” Mike at one point tells a sad girl that there’s nothing like a stripper to put a smile on your face.
I thought that was bullshit, but the ladies, well, they overruled me. They did indeed like White Chocolate.
This is aNewDomain, I’m Jason Dias, and I’m out.
Cover image: SeattleTimes.com, All Rights Reserved. Image two: NewNowNext.com, All Rights Reserved. Image three: MaleCelebBlogs.com, All Rights Reserved. Image four: MyrtleBeachOnline.com, All Rights Reserved.