I went to see "Magic Mike" tonight. It was pretty good. It has a lot of dancing naked men if you're into that sort of thing, but if you are a straight guy, you can also see Olivia Munn's boobs if you're into that sort of thing.
Basically, it's an American Dream story that reminded me of "Pretty Woman" and reminded my husband of "Flashdance."
The dancing is phenomenal. As stripper Kat wrote of Channing Tatum in her co-review of the movie with stripper Bubbles: "His pelvic thrusts are the cathartic thrusts of a man who can only express himself truly on the stage with his crotch."
I would like to see Matthew McConaughey be the first actor to get an Academy Award for playing a male stripper.
Not all the acting is great, due to Soderbergh's in recent years interesting in working with non-actors or not-great actors. So things drag a little when people are trying to portray emotions they're not so sure they're having.
But it's fun. Like popcorn.
People are always interested in what a movie like this says about the current state of masculinity. It explores a lot of the same things Susan Faludi explored in Stiffed: The Betrayal of the American Man. If you haven't read the book, I recommend the chapter on male porn stars: "Waiting for Wood: A Death on the New Frontier." The book is mostly about how men can be men in a post-industrialized America, and the answer seems to be: It ain't easy.
The same factors are at play in "Magic Mike." Men are objects at which women throw their money, and the guys' sexual gyrations are a punchline to a joke nobody's sure they get. Women make the first move and don't call you after they fuck you. In the wake of masculinity's absence, young men try to fill traditional roles, fail, and feminize themselves for dollar bills if that's what makes a bunch of oversexed postfeminists happy.
In the end, Mike seems to make something out of the wreckage. The bespoke furniture he creates includes the detritus of a bygone time that washes up on the shores after the latest storm. There isn't much left, but for a guy in the 21st century, this is the closest he's going to get to a happy ending.