"SATIRE IS a lesson, parody is a game," said Vladimir Nabokov.
Matthew was once a Hollywood golden boy, the next big thing. He received a hot Vanity Fair cover--not always a good sign--sometimes that honor is like winning an Oscar
too early. He never quite lived up to the initial promise. In recent years he has become a poster boy for a certain kind of cheerful narcissism/exhibitionism. All that running around shirtless. And there was the laid back naked bongo-playing and pot smoking. It was amusing, but where was this actor going? He sure wasn't getting any younger. With the weekend release of "Magic Mike" now we know. Yes, this is Channing Tatum's baby, loosely based on his brief teenage career as a stripper. And Mr. Tatum is very good--he seems to relax more with each
movie. The movie itself, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is neither the cheesy flesh-bazaar so many were hoping for-- though there's plenty of flesh! Nor is it as satisfactorily dark as others expected. The two sides of the movie-- both appealing-- don't always mesh. (Stripper movies never quite get it right, except for the last 25 minutes of "Gypsy.")
But Matthew, as the owner of the strip club, who still keeps a six-pack on hand just to show the youngsters how it's done, is the real winner of "Magic Mike." He's a great big smirking, self-aware, funny, version of the glossy magazine creature he has become. He's more spray-tanned, more cocky, and definitively more stoned than he has ever been in public, but it comes across like an effortless non-performance, just a day in the life. And he also looks like
he's having a ball on screen.
"Magic Mike" looks great, the dance scenes are sensational. The other young men who take it off--Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello--are all excellent. There's convincing work from some of the ladies, too, including Olivia Munn. But the movie belongs to Matthew McConaughey. With the right scripts, he can ease right into middle age more appealing and certainly more interesting than when he was the perpetually perspiring lawyer in 1996's "A Time To Kill." And as the deleted Stephen Sondheim song from Follies goes, "Can That Boy Fox Trot!"
In 1981, it was a sensation on television, going as far as they could back then. There's nothing new under the sun, especially the Hollywood sun.
When I first saw the ads for the movie, I thought "Well Mark has really come full circle. Now's he's making a sweet children's film with a teddy bear." Not quite. Wahlberg's stuffed friend has a filthy mouth and is inappropriate in every way. Nobody remarks on the fact the bear can walk and talk, either. It's directed by Seth MacFarlane of TV's "Family Guy." I think that's all I need say. The audience was rolling in the aisles. I was less active.
And, as already has been pointed out, all three of Tom's marriages ended when the wife was 33. This number apparently has meaning in Scientology. (Yeah, your number is up, honey!) Tom will be fifty years old today. That's a significant number too. Especially for an actor.
But, as this was the first time a wife filed against Tom, maybe he was willing to overlook the "33 thing." If indeed such a thing exists.
Katie used to keep a poster of Tom on her wall when she was a teenager. Then she found a paper doll to call her own--in fact she had the real thing. Apparently, she discovered the real thing is often less entertaining than a wall decoration.