Channing Tatum is bringing male strippers back into the public consciousness with Magic Mike, a film that supposedly chronicles Tatum’s days as a dancer leading up to his star turns in such films as G.I. Joe: Retaliation, and The Vow, two films that I will never, ever, ever see. While the movie looks like a good, fun romp (how could it not be with Matthew McConaughey?), it reminds us that male strippers exist, so let’s get back to the female ones for a moment and remember what it means to REALLY be a stripper.
Word on the street was that Demi Moore made $12 million to play a stripper in this (tragically) PG-13 rated film, breaking the record for biggest single payday to an actress. Unfortunately, if you’re not going full-frontal, you’re going to leave a lot of people wondering what exactly the point of a stripper movie is.
I don’t know, because I never saw it. And I wasn’t alone, as the giant payday seemed to be just more money down the drain as this film didn’t appeal to the perverts, certainly not families, and the “single mom” plotline didn’t do much to win the hearts and minds of single-parent families anywhere, so the nation let out a catcall at Demi’s tight body on the billboards and magazine ads, then forget about the whole damn thing.
It’s not often that a stripper can serve as a genuine muse. For the most part, they just convince you to buy them a Mustang convertible so they can drop out of dental hygienist school. But Salma shows the way to the protagonists in Dogma, and does so by looking pretty damn good in pigtails while shaking her shit to “Candy Girl” by New Edition.
It’s not easy to get past all the emotional baggage that runs rampant in this film about lust and infidelity, but if you divorce yourself from those emotions (you know, like a sociopath), then maybe you can just take her at face value. By that I mean you’ll enjoy her body and pink wig. Clive Owen sure did.
It was also in this film that Natalie Portman, wig and all, drew the inevitable comparisons to Julia Roberts. I think she’s got Pretty Woman beat by a country mile, but it isn’t about me. It’s about you, dear reader. Is there any chance that Julia Roberts has out-sexied Natalie at any point of their careers?
Elizabeth Berkley makes the cut not because I carry a fondness for Jessie Spano, but because her Nomi character exhibits qualities I often find in other strippers. Namely, she’s dumb and I don’t care about her.
While her tale was ostensibly supposed to be a tragic one about a dancer who lost her way while pursuing stardom in Vegas, she doesn’t manage to evoke much sympathy. Rather, she just makes us nod our heads and say, “Yup. That’s what happens when you’re that special combination of naïve, credulous, and dumb. You get eaten alive.” Fortunately, it’s not all life lessons, as she has some truly bizarre sex in a swimming pool that is probably the most memorable scene of a not-at-all memorable film.
Two entries for Selma! Unfortunately, that wasn’t enough to get her typecast over and over and over again as a stripper, but it did mean we got to see her shake that ass in a bikini all over during two separate and wildly disparate films. Robert Rodriquez’s From Dusk Til Dawn could very well serve as the anti-Dogma. Rather than playing a helpful muse, Hayek’s Dawn character gets turned on by the site of blood and instigates a bar-wide feeding frenzy that kills just about everyone.
Which Hayek stripper was sexier? That’s just a matter of taste.
In yet another instance of America watering down the greatest things in the nation to appease the bland taupe tastes of the masses, Alba’s character had been drawn nude in the Frank Miller graphic novels, you know, because she’s a stripper. Well, Alba thought that her appearing nude would upset her father, which is probably true, but it would also likely delight millions of other men. If you want to make a sexy stripper omelet, ya gotta break some stripper eggs.
Covered breasts aside, Alba, like so many other actors in this film, offers a sultry side that many didn’t think she had in her.
Strangely, out of the five entrants here (with Hayek getting two nods), only one – Berkeley – got topless for her role as a stripper, suggesting that maybe these women aren’t as method as we had hoped. In the future, as much as we like seeing our favorite stars taking the stage, we should root for the relative unknowns so that we’re not stuck with something like Lindsay Lohan’s I Know Who Killed Me, a film so bad I wasn’t even sure I wanted to mention it. Terrible stuff. Do. Not. Watch.
But the other’s on this list are good for some mild erotica like it’s 7th grade up in this piece.