Friday, 10 August 2012

Culture Shock: What I've Been Watching: Magic Mike (2012)

On the recommendation given by my younger sister, this Orange Wednesday just gone my mother and I headed out to our local Vue cinema to catch the biggest naked-man phenomenon to grace the mainstream world since the Chippendales first strutted onto the stage in all their bow-tied glory. I'm sorry to say that Magic Mike (2012) was altogether a huge disappointment for me.

I am a huge fan of the cinema. I love dressing in my comfies and getting excited about what snacks to buy. My mom and I like going to see films together as a cute mummy-daughter activity and we've caught some really good ones in the past such as My Week With Marilyn, The Help, The King's Speech and The Iron Lady. As you can tell, our usual tastes are drama and history type pieces with a bit of comedy and fashion thrown in. Having said that, I love a good dance movie or romcom too, so we weren't too concerned about Magic Mike. That is until the first month sign-post symbolising that the film begins in 'June' popped up totally randomly. It was all downhill from there really.

*This is what I wore to the cinema...*

So let me break it down for you... Think Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey getting naked and swivelling their leather-clad snake hips all over the stage. Sounds brilliant right? Now imagine that this is all that really happens for about two hours straight. I know full well that there are many people out there that wouldn't mind this at all. I even surprised myself by finding that after the first ten minutes of slobbering into my popcorn I just felt so intellectually neglected that I sort of shut off to the naked men and hunted amidst the six-packs for a storyline worth following.

I needn't have bothered. Now, if you haven't seen the film or didn't want to know the storyline (because you value your time) I apologise as I'm about to give you the bare bones... which is actually the whole plot. So Pettyfer's character is a 19 year-old sleeping on his sister's couch and hunting for a job. He runs into 'Mike' (Tatum) and gets roped into being a male stripper in McConaughey's character's club. Mike is an aspiring entrepreneur wishing to open his own furniture design company, for which he has saved $13,000 over the years. Pettyfer's character gets led astray into selling drugs and gets into a big fight when he's stripping at a sorority house party resulting in him leaving behind $10,000 worth of pills. Mike pays the drug dealers $10,000 out of his own savings, just because that's the kind of guy he is. He also decides to quit stripping and pursue his furniture-related dreams. McConaughey's character decides to move his business to Miami and takes his remaining strippers with him. Pettyfer's sister knows that her brother is now a drug addict and seller and gets naked for a living, but she doesn't mind because Mike snogs her in the end. End of story.

Literally, that is the whole story. The thing that irked me the most was Pettyfer's character's sister because she was so dull and passive, there was almost no point in her character existing. Whatever happened to intelligent, fun, interesting leading ladies? Is it realistic that a woman doesn't mind that her younger brother is in danger as long as she's got a new boyfriend? I don't think so. And its not like there wasn't interesting women in the film, there was. I actually related more to Olivia Munn's bit part as a promiscuous bisexual than I did to Pettyfer's character's sister (who is a relative unknown named Cody Horn) and that is saying something as I have never had bisexual tendencies and would not call myself promiscuous. I found it almost offensive and very anti-feminist that the main female character was not developed into an admirable heroine. Similarly, it annoyed me that the male stripper characters were all permitted to be as promiscuous as possible, dancing naked every night, 'sharing' the breasts of their wives and sleeping with a variety of women, whilst Munn's character is portrayed as a terrible person when Mike discovered she was in fact engaged when she'd slept with him. Obviously I'm not condoning that kind of behaviour, but when the male characters misbehaved, it was portrayed as being 'endearing' or 'cheeky' or 'expected' whereas when the women did the same they were portrayed as being horrible and misleading and dirty.

I didn't hate the film. But it bored me a lot, and I just found that the naked-dancing was used as a vehicle to sell cinema tickets in spite of the fact that the plot was lacking in a big way. Had I been in the cinema by myself I probably would have got up and left, but my Mom seemed to think it was 'good fun' so I sat quietly marvelling at the lack of intelligent characters whilst Matthew McConaughey thrust his hips at me.

I think this is a good film for young girls who have never had any kind of erotic experience before or have never seen a male dancer or a porn king in action before. Similarly, I think bored housewives would enjoy this film too. On top of that, I think it is probably not a bad film for those who have no interest in the way women are portrayed in the media in comparison to men. I could also watch this film when I'm very very bored late at night and there is nothing else on telly and I can't sleep.

So many of you probably think I looked far too deeply into what is essentially just a 'fun' film. But that's just my opinion I guess...

Did you watch Magic Mike? Does the portrayal of women in the media bother you at all? Have you seen any other good films recently?

Love and kisses

No comments:

Post a Comment