If you’re horny/ Let’s do it/Ride it, My Pony/My saddle’s waiting/Come and jump on it
What Can Be Learnt
Can it get more EXPLICIT than the lyrics from Ginuwine’s song, the musical background to Magic Mike’s magical number and the audio trigger that sets the action in motion in this sequel? Is there any room left for confusion or doubt? There is always a range, right? Depending on common sense, cultural upbringing and the desired understanding, the interpretation is always free. Magic Mike XXL functions on a wide range of EXPLICIT. The dance choreographies are more elaborate, they have a meaning now and they are intended to celebrate the women in the audience, who are raised one level above on the pedestal – from mere clients and mo’ cash providers to queens who deserve to be worshiped. This is also useful for self-validation, as raising the bar and the juxtaposition of a higher purpose takes the characters from mere male strippers to entertainers and why not, comforters. The striptease numbers were much rawer in the first movie, very pragmatic, but Steven Soderbergh didn’t shy away from highlighting the details, the secret fears and the preparations. For all the physical nakedness, the characters failed to reach EXPLICIT emotional surrender. It falls therefore on the sequel to take things to a new level and focus on that bearing of the soul: the denial of engagement for Mike, the need for meditation and calming of the soul for Matt Bomer’s character, Richie’s frustrations of not finding a match – both physical and, why not, spiritual -, the haunting past of Tarzan and the big dreams and even bigger doubts that surround the life outside the scene expressed by Tito. Can anyone relate to the troubles of this trade? Admit it, we all have our armor in the workplace or in certain social groups. It may not be a steely 6-pack, but there are expectations from us that need to be lived up to. Do we open up, do we devote ourselves completely to our “customers”, colleagues? How EXPLICIT are we or are we permitted to be in different circumstances? Although it seems the world has been covered with be yourself and accept who you are and the world will follow post-its, there is more to be done in terms of acceptance of emotional EXPLICITNESS.
What’s the Movie About
The movie captures few realistic glimpses only to highlight the three grand escapes that the characters face: Rome’s private club, the divorcee mansion and the enclosed dance scene of the convention, the last stop and the witness of the swan song of these guys’ seemingly illustrious careers. The first one feels like a descent into the underworld, where pleasure is the ultimate currency. Rome, Mike’s former something, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, shows them around only to pinpoint how obsolete they have become and puts them to the test. Magic Mike of course succeeds in getting showered with even more money than the main attraction of the place, therefore Rome is convinced and MCs for them at the big convention. But before getting to Myrtle Beach, the colorful location of the convention, they spend the night at the house of some girl’s mother. Lucky for the boys, or for the ladies, that night seems to foster a divorcee or displeased wives reunion, so Richie and Tarzan and Ken can try all their tricks to make them swoon over their perfect bodies that happen to encapsulate sensitive hearts. For a moment, a camera is placed in someone’s hand, directed at Andie MacDowell and it’s a subtle reference to Soderbergh’s early indie masterpiece, sex, live and videotape. The grand finale is a burst of individual dance routines, one more sensitive and at the same time more erotic than the other. It falls away from striptease and approaches more theatre in the nude, but it gets women screaming and all touchy, therefore it seems the goal has been achieved.
I never understood male stripping. I was never curious, nor passionate or eager about this type of showmanship. I wasn’t really into 6-packs, and the only time that didn’t seem foreign was when watching 300, but anything that wrapped in muscles without the proper attitudes from Leonidas and the other characters would have been just meaningless and unattractive. Then, several years later, I went to see Magic Mike and a female colleague said to me that she didn’t like it, she didn’t understand anything about it (her IQ isn’t top of the charts). That’s because Soderbergh made an experiment, like many of his movies are. It’s a peek-a-boo look, but not at the nudity, but at the minutiae of this world, which is not sterile in terms of dramas, hopes and dreams, desires and expectations. Strippers, as it seems, are only humans posing as some sort of demi-gods. Sound familiar? There are a lot of reviews who challenged both movies – more the sequel, due to the absence of Matthew McConaughey – for the lack of depth in the acting. I didn’t find that offending, this is not an Oscar go-getter, it’s a run-free portrayal about a certain lifestyle. With Channing Tatum as main star and inspiration, and a big studio betting on the project, marketing was focused more on the show, life-revealing part, rather than the heart and talent part.
What’s the Key Take-Away
A bit kitschy and superficial here and there, Magic Mike XXL is the start of a conversation, about how much we reveal ourselves to the world and what’s the price we are willing to pay. What is the range we are willing to accept from us and from others. Even EXPLICIT music can be allusive.