I don't know if you have heard, but there is a movie out this weekend about strippers. Male strippers.
That's what has had all the women (and some men) in your life up in arms, suddenly murmuring the name Channing far more often than usual, and making plans for "girl's night out" at the movie theater.
They're not going to the movies to see "Prometheus."
"Magic Mike" is loosely based on Channing Tatum's former part-time gig as a stripper. I haven't seen the movie yet, so this is not a review, but I can tell you why I'm going to a theater with women that may shriek at the screen as if they were in a strip club. (Audience members on opening weekend always seem to "participate" in the movie.)
I've only seen one other movie in the theater this year and it's been critically hailed; Wes Anderson's "Moonrise Kingdom" has an all-star cast and features such striking scenes that each one is like its own photograph.
Women may want to stop and take pictures of the scenes of "Magic Mike" for other reasons.
Since my friend suggested that I go to this movie on opening weekend, and I felt silly enough to reply via text message to my friend "omg yes," I've been watching the reviews roll in.
Truth be told, a movie about male strippers seems like a paradox to a "critically hailed" movie. Frankly, I've never been to male strip club and that's fine. My friends do "classy" things for their bachelorette parties, like wine tastings, peddle cloud, camping, or a time spent away at some mysterious family member's beach condo. I don't think I ever want to go to male strip club either, which is why this film invites the perfect time for someone like me to explore the near-naked culture.
Even though I'm a woman with little interest in going somewhere to ogle barely dressed men doesn't mean that I can't and won't. I heard a woman say that while it was fine for men in the 90s to cheer on Demi in "Striptease" or Elizabeth Berkley in "Showgirls," women are supposed to be "better" than that.
Except that we're all human. When you have a movie about strippers, the intention on some level will be for men and women to ogle.
The other bit that this film offers that the real life strip club does not is cheesy insight into a world I know nothing about. I read memoirs in my spare time about totally normal people doing extraordinary things or novels about kids who are also wizards trying to save the wizarding world. I know nothing about strippers. And who does? Channing Tatum. Before he was a crime solver on "21 Jump Street," the son struggling to understand his father and going out to fight overseas in "Dear John", and before he was a kid on the wrong side of the track that found dancing could save him from a life of self-destruction in "Step Up," he stripped.
He took the concept of "Magic Mike" to the Hollywood movie studios and they said, "Yes, let's make it". He even helped sign on Steven Soderbergh to direct. I've read that while it's "campy" (because of course, a movie about strippers is campy), Tatum's real life experience lends itself to the dialogue that doesn't seem too forced for a chaotic and dramatic plot.
So, yes, this weekend I'm going to the movie theater to see a film about male strippers and I'm kind of excited to be entertained.