I don’t feel sorry for you fans of Channing Tatum that he is going on an acting hiatus in 2013. According to Channing, he’s going to focus on writing and directing before he takes any more acting roles.
Now, some could argue that Channing has been on an acting hiatus for his entire life, despite the fact that he’s appeared in movies. Zing! How do I feel on the subject? Well, it’s complicated.
Did I go see The Vow on opening night? Yes. Did I hate it? Yes. Did I feel like it was uncomfortable to watch Channing Tatum try to wear a cable knit sweater? DEFINITELY. It was both unfair to the viewer and to the poor yarn that had to hold itself together for dear life.
On the other hand, do I love Step Up and hold most dance movies to that standard of precision and excellence? Of course. It’s a modern day Dirty Dancing. Do I oft find myself YouTubing the “Pony” clip from Magic Mike on a rainy day? Affirmative. Did I find the special ops soldier’s uniform he wore elsewhere in the film – used not in combat, but in floor humping – to be vaguely offensive? You betcha.
Look, I could stand here and answer questions all day. The fact remains, losing Channing Tatum for a year isn’t going to do anyone harm, and I don’t feel sorry for anyone who feels otherwise.
Here’s my take on Tatum.
First, his name is confusing. I never remember which is the first name, and which is the last name. I have a feeling CT struggles with this too, based on a completely unfair generalization drawn from his body-mass-to-head-size ratio. That was irrelevant to the point, I just had to get it out there.
With respect to his acting, a hiatus is a great idea because Channing is best suited for surprise roles. I define “surprise roles” as roles in which we say to ourselves, “Huh. I didn’t know he could do that.”
Let me explain. In Step Up, Channing surprised us by merely existing. We had no idea who he was, he isn’t classically trained (one of my mother’s favorite ways of describing dancers), and yet he could move. Add to that his cute face and ability to act well enough to make the movie survive? Well played, Chan Chan.
In 21 Jump Street, C-Tates was successful because we were like, “Huh, he can actually be funny.” We of course said this in a totally patronizing way, the way you’d be proud of your thirteen-year-old dude cousin for remembering to put the toilet seat down. It’s not expected and you’re not even sure if he did it on purpose, but you’re proud nonetheless. Mission accomplished with another big hit.
And then Magic Mike came around and we’d almost entirely forgotten about the dancing thing. He strategically made so many muscle-factory movies and that abomination entitled The Vow in the interim, that we were again pleasantly surprised by his innate ability to dance. We were more than pleasantly surprised by his ability to take his clothes off while doing so.
And so, Magic Channing has officially come full circle.
It’s time for a break. Oversaturate the market with Channingisms and Tatumites, and we’re going to run out of things to be surprised by. We need time to forget that he can do anything impressive so that we can be impressed the next time he does it.
And if the next time we’re impressed is when Channing writes or directs an Oscar-winning movie, then more power to him. I can’t wait for the victory dance. I just hope he straightens this whole name thing out before he does. He currently sounds like a Hello, Dolly! themed potato dish, for crying out loud.