I’ll be up front. I had high expectations for this movie and it exceeded almost all of them. For the sake of my reputation I wish that I could say I enjoyed it ironically but that’s not the case. I enjoyed it without hesitation… badonkadonks and all. The dance numbers were fabulous, the muscles spellbinding, and the drama mercifully sparse.
Channing Tatum may not be in the running for an academy award, he may not even have visible human feelings, but he’s got a couple things goin’ for him. Namely, that he is one of those guys that inspires rants like this: Greg Behrendt might as well be talking about Channing (see: Figure 1) and that he sure makes one helluva stripper movie. I’ve got to hand it to him; his project is ambitious and it gives a large portion of America just what we wanted: an opportunity to see slightly conflicted, yet jacked, male strippers saying sensitive things while dancing their booties off without the risk of actually going to a strip club. Plus, he’s acting from a mature place of real-life experience, so you know it’s got to be good.
In the movie Tatum plays Mike, a seasoned dancing vet who runs several businesses on the side. Surprisingly, the striving furniture craftsman angle is only a few shots of a fire extinguisher coffee table that our protagonist supposedly crafted himself. This is art, ladies and gentlemen. These come along with a short rifling through a booklet of stainless steal furniture supposedly created from driftwood that Mike finds along the beach in Tampa. Forget the fact that most of the furniture we see is made of stainless steel and that we don’t ever see him work on any of it— Mike is clear that it’s CUSTOM MADE.
He discovers a broke and handsome 19-year-old Alex Pettyfer. He introduces Pettyfer, nicknamed “The Kid,” to seedy clubowner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Mike then falls for The Kid’s wholesome nurse-tech sister and pursues her by asking her to come to his stripping gigs, thereby proving that chivalry is not dead. Seeing a built male acquaintance get all oiled up and rub pecs with your brother onstage in front of hundreds of soused brides-to-be is better than chocolate. Watching him pelvic-thrust his way through the crowd is more wholesome than flowers. Seeing the downpour of crumpled singles flutter from wedding-banded fingers is more alluring than the gleam of an engagement ring. Obviously, crude gyrations are the new chivalry.
Not that I’m protesting. We are promised gyration and it’s gyration that we get! Tatum is full of backflips, risky slides and other exciting stunts. His dancing truly is impressive, not to mention his breakaway pants . The movie is packed full of clips of silly routines that leave ladies giggling their way through the ab-glute-humpfest.
Additionally, the movie is wise enough to poke fun at itself. This move alone won me over. The acknowledgement of the absurdity of the setting and the extremity of the dance numbers shows a sort of sensitivity on Channing’s part that I didn’t know he could display. And no one better embodies the film’s tongue-in-cheek attitude better that vain, gimmicky Dallas.
Playing the owner of the male revue where the shimmy crew dances, McConaughey elicits more laughs than a Pomeranian in a pantsuit. With his cocky catchphrase, “alright alright alright, alright” his low-slung leather pants and his perpetual hip-thrusting slouch, Dallas is the grossest and silliest of the bunch. Though, I’ll be honest, some of us saw it coming. McConaughey embodies the three words that summarize the film: glitter, guts and assless chaps.
Post Script: What the hell kind of name is Channing Tatum?
Additional Post Script: “Assless chaps” always counts as one word. What other kind of chaps are there?