|"WTF?! Is that a black person?"|
That's not to say it's a bad movie. Magic Mike isn't terrible by any stretch, and I enjoyed it more than I did The Descendants. But when you've got guys as hot as McConaughey and Channing Tatum parading around in various states of undress, and you still can't hold my undivided attention, Tampa, we've got a problem.
Ah, yes. Tampa, the place where Magic Mike happens, the Florida city only a few hours outside of my hometown of Kissimmee. Perhaps I missed something when I was distracted by the clock, but for a director who earned his reputation with a hyper-realistic brand of filmmaking that sometimes bordered on documentarian (see Sex, Lies and Videotape and Traffic, the 2000 movie for which Soderbergh deservedly won the Best Director Oscar), the Florida depicted in Magic Mike doesn't look anything like the Florida where I spent the 18 years of my life between the ages of 4 and 22.
Yes, it's been awhile, and places change. Perhaps all the black people who lived in Tampa, Florida, two years ago -- according to the 2010 census, 26 percent of the general population -- packed up and moved to wherever the New York City blacks took off to in order to make Girls one of the most lily-white shows on TV (more on that in a future blog) since the whitewashing of the Big Apple by Sex and the City, Friends and Seinfeld.
Here's the thing: Soderbergh cast an English actor (Alex Pettyfer) as a 19-year-old American, a gay actor (Matt Bomer) as a straight married stripper, two Latinos in key supporting roles (Adam Rodriguez as a stripper and Gabriel Iglesias as Tobias the DJ) and a 53-year-old WWE star (Kevin Nash) as Tarzan the stripper, and he couldn't put any black people onscreen. Maybe I blinked and missed something, but over the course of the entire movie, I don't recall seeing a single black face -- or body -- in a city that is one-quarter black. Ginuwine's "Pony" on the soundtrack does not count.
|Would women in Tampa pay to see him naked?|
Wait, I'm not 100 percent sure, but I think one of Tobias's two thugs who broke into Mike's apartment may have been black. Was he or wasn't he? That's some double-edged sword. If he was, there we go again: the black guy as hired muscle. If not, an all-white cast with no black stereotypes. In some alternate universe where black people actually exist and go out in public, I guess that's some twisted form of progress.
The Best Performance in Magic Mike