26 October 2012

Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh, 2012, USA)

 I keep seeing established film critics defend Magic Mike. Defend might not be the right word, because many of them don't seem to understand that it needs defending. I think this is in part because a lot of working film critics have lowbrow tastes and exalt the likes of The Avengers or Magic Mike as the best movies of the year and all that absurdity. Not that it matters. I'm trying to figure out what it is about the absurd Magic Mike, which more or less seems like an updated movie from USA's Up All Night, if you can remember that far back. The USA network used to play racy movies late at night that were always about some dream that rested on some amount of money and it always revolved around strippers or nightclubs or something. I don't know. I feel like the plot of Burlesque borrowed heavily from that genre, as does Magic Mike, but for some reason people seem to lap it up with Magic Mike.

I have two theories. One is that Channing Tatum (or is it Matthew McConaughey?) somehow tapped into this sea of latent homosexual desire, and these film critics respond to these uncomfortable feelings by defending the plot of this silly movie, thereby avoiding cogntive dissonance. Conversely, it could be that it taps into some phenomenon whereby men are deep down in love with their best friends and it's somehow cathartic to see this worked through as Tatum eventually channels that romantic energy into his bromantic partner's sister, literally. Anyway, these are just stray throughts, as you can probably tell. This phenomenon could all boil down to the fact that Steven Soderbergh benefits for one reason or another from a love affair with auteur theory.

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