We found Nicholas Sparks in a Steven Soderbergh place.
Magic Mike came in at #11 on my “Most Anticipated Films Of 2012” list, but I may have to amend that now. I often try to stay away from trailers of films I’m really looking forward to in order to manage expectations, because really, the marketing of a movie and the film itself often have nothing to do with each other. So I won’t give up on Magic Mike quite yet.
But after watching the trailer, let’s just say my high hopes took a serious nosedive.
Magic Mike trailer
The way I see it, there are a few problems here.
First — Rihanna’s “We Found Love”? Seriously? This might have been a savvy choice last fall, when it was still a new track and people were buzzing about it. It’s a great song — but it’s one we’ve heard about 100 times too many over the last six months. (Yes, it debuted last September.) I might be willing to forgive this choice if it fit the movie perfectly either lyrically or musically, but nope! Beaches, boats, and even strip clubs are not hopeless places to find love. Maybe a sad dive bar strip joint on the side of a highway in New Mexico at 3 in the afternoon on a Tuesday, but not this place.
Would it be possible to pick a more generic song? Why not just use “Rolling In The Deep”? If they had to go with Rihanna, “Where Have You Been” would have fit better — it’s dancey, it hasn’t been played to death (yet), and it’s more thematically relevant with lyrics like: “Are you hiding from me somewhere in the crowd?” (Actually, almost any Rihanna song is more appropriate and probably already about getting naked.) I really can’t fathom the decision to put “We Found Love” in this trailer, unless the intended target audience is just Rihanna.
Which goes to my second, more alarming point — this trailer is obviously aimed at very young women, striking a rather Nicholas Sparksian tone. But the movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh, and I have a hard time believing the man behind Out Of Sight made a straight-up weepy in the vein of The Vow or The Lucky One. Say it ain’t so, Steven! One can hope, pray, and bargain with Satan that this is merely an advertising gimmick attempting to get a certain demographic’s asses in seats. (A demographic which, I argue, would have come for the eye candy alone, anyway. These girls, they’re not picky about plot.) Soderbergh has been on a genre kick lately, attempting to put his personal stamp on all kinds of movies normally directed by lesser filmmakers. (Haywire and Contagion most recently.) But even he wouldn’t sink as low as he appears to be sinking here… right?
Which brings me to my third point — even if this is a totally bastardized marketing tool that only vaguely resembles the tone of the finished product, Channing Tatum still stars as a male stripper whose big dream in life is to make furniture. Will some stripper please make me a chair now, so I can fall out of it?
Pretty much all dumb romances feature a sensitive heartthrob with some soulful, vaguely artistic goal that I suppose women are supposed to find sexy. Making furniture? How noble! Because a movie about a directionless egomaniac stripper who will be SOL when he hits 40 is, what? Too realistic?
Now, I’m not here to judge strippers. I know many of them have ambitions besides taking their clothes off, and maybe sometimes that even involves furniture. (Cue double entendre involving the “woodwork.”) But does it have to sound like this big artistic dream worth swooning over? Does the inevitable “I’m Too Sexy” number have to be followed by some bullshit “follow your dreams” message? Can’t we just have a movie about real male strippers with drug problems, raging narcissism, daddy issues, and the occasional hush-hush homosexual experience?
I was under the impression that Magic Mike was going to be fun. Possibly a little dark. Maybe not Boogie Nights dark, but Full Frontal dark, perhaps. With a bit of an edge. This Magic Mike looks about as edgy as a perfect circle, putting it in line with all those terrible dance movies like Step Up and the Footloose remake. Side note: I’m also not convinced that anyone in this film can act, based both on past performances and our glimpses of them here.
This is Magic Mike? Ugh. If I want a movie about a stripper that takes him or herself way too seriously, I will watch Showgirls. Because at least Nomi never declared that what she really wanted to do with her life was make coffee tables.