Arrogantly titled, don’t you think—this Men the Experience? What are the rest of us? Aardvarks the Experience?
Full disclosure: Thinking about seeing the Riviera’s new Men the Experience made me nostalgic for an attack of ringworm—another low-rent, pecs & ass show with its creativity in its crotch. Yet as crotch-tainment goes, Men can more or less keep its imagination up.
Standard-issue beefcake—each apparently carved out of slabs of Red Rock Canyon—the dudes of Men are backed by the generic rock-out soundtrack (it’s illegal by now to do this type of show without “It’s Raining Men”) and themed video montages.
One acts as host, with patter such as this toast: “Here’s to the East, here’s to the West, here’s to my hands across your breasts.” (Calling him a silver-tongued devil would have an entirely other meaning here, so I won’t.) Creating cheering (i.e., squealing) sections, he separates the predominantly female crowd—equal parts bachelorette partiers, sorority vacationers and drooling cougars, plus their drag-along male companions—into “horny girls” and “nasty girls.”
Many segments feature hunk icons straight from the throb-’n’-thrust handbook, including gyrating firemen, grinding cowboys, a Magic Mike tribute and strutting soldiers (which has a modicum of class, with less lewdness, accompanied by “A Hero Lies in You”). Women (including, on this night, one whose breasts would show up on satellite photos) are escorted onstage as willing props, snaking their hands up and around male musculature while the guys tease them with wriggles of their marquee muscle. At one point, the gentlemen wade into the crowd so the ladies can get a bit touchy-feely-grope-y.
Garden-variety meat and greet.
Several segments, however, rescue Men from being merely a pectoral parade. One, a James Bond takeoff excuse to take it off, contains expected juvenile penile jokes (he’s “Agent 9½”). But the 007 musical oeuvre dovetails cleverly into video spy imagery, culminating in a strip to Adele’s “Skyfall” (the trendy add-on, such as Terry Fator’s “Skyfall”-crooning dummy).
In a music-free parody of The Dating Game, a woman chooses between three beefcake suitors—one named “Jorge Hornee”—two of whom leeringly promise carnal kicks. Not to ruin a good groin fest with social issues, but you’ll have to decide if it’s offhand racism or post-racial color blindness that the black and Hispanic guys act like overgrown trick-or-treaters in pimp outfits on Halloween, and the white dude is the romantic. Still, it introduces a few laughs and a touch of invention.
Highlighting the show are twin segments that could nearly qualify as production numbers. In a gangster-themed bit, zoot-suited dancers do some spiffy Jazz Age hoofing (we’ll overlook it being billed a throwback to the 1930s while including the theme to The Godfather, which was set in the ’40s and ’50s). Then a Phantom of the Opera tribute actually has mini-grandeur to it, with an over-buffed phantom sweeping up a volunteer heroine.
Hot to the ladies—and surprisingly entertaining to the aardvarks they drag along.
Got an entertainment tip? Email Steve.Bornfeld@VegasSeven.com.