‘Magic Mike’ ReviewDirector: Steven Soderbergh Producers: Reid Carolin, Gregory Jacobs, Channing Tatum, Nick Wechsler Writer: Reid Carolin Actors: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Gabriel Iglesias Editor: Mary Ann Bernard Cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh
While this movie does not feature a superhero or a fairy tale, it is still one of the most anticipated movies of the summer for one thing - abs. Lots and lots of half naked men showing off their perfectly sculpted chests in an effort to provoke women into a frenzy. It’s certainly something that I want to see. Magic Mike tells the story of a group of people that we don’t often hear about: male strippers. It’s loosely based on the real life of star Channing Tatum, who worked as a stripper for about a year before hitting it big in Hollywood. As a woman I gobbled up every trailer and interview leading up to the premiere. I made plans to go with my girlfriends and bought tickets in advance, because shows were already selling out. With all the hype focusing on the big screen man candy will Magic Mike be all that we hope? Or will the more serious side of life as a stripper over power the fun nature of watching men grind their junk in your face?
Broke and living on his sister’s couch, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is 19 and without direction. That is until he meets Mike (Channing Tatum), who takes pity on the poor kid and gives him a job at the strip club where he works. After one of the male strippers passes out, Adam is forced on stage to dance his debut. After this initial introduction, Adam is christened “The Kid” and given a spot in the male review. “Magic Mike” takes him under his wing and shows him the ropes – and the man thongs. Mike has been saving for years to start his own custom furniture design company, but with the economy being so terrible, and his many businesses being cash only, there is no way to get a bank loan. As the Kid gets deeper into the lifestyle of women, money, and a good time it’s Mike’s job to look after him - and it’s one career move that could prove disastrous.
Channing Tatum as “Magic Mike”
Channing Tatum is certainly having a great year. First he kills it as Jenko in 21 Jump Street, and now he’s proven what a great actor he truly is with another star turn in Magic Mike. It’s not just that he is incredibly hot -which he is, especially as he’s grinding on stage. He’s also believable as an aging stripper in a moment of crisis. He has a lot of emotionally powerful scenes where you truly feel his inner anguish. There are a lot of moments where you laugh and dance with him, and you can’t help smiling. But you can also truly feel those quiet moments where he has to make tough choices in order to figure out his life. Tatum proves that he can do both as a actor, and he’s great to watch.
It’s the reason the theater was filled to the brim with rambunctious women – the stripping scenes. And you will not go home disappointed. I would say a good half of the movie featured some hot male getting naked, whether they were dancing on stage or partying afterward. The scenes featuring the hot male review were incredibly fun to watch, as I’m sure they were fun to film. They are charged with an exciting energy that guarantees enjoyment. Perhaps the opening weekend crowd enjoyed it a little too much, screaming even louder than the lucky women featured as extras in the strip club scenes. But I’m sure that the sense of fun will translate even if there is no one else in the theater but you. There’s no way you can watch those scenes and feel anything but pure (well actually… impure) joy.
The Serious Questions
As someone who graduated college two years ago and still finds herself working a dead end job – I can sort of relate to the tough questions Mike has to ask himself. ”Magic Mike” has been stripping for years, and working all sorts of other jobs, in order to save money towards his goal of starting his own business. But when it comes to making a move towards this goal, it’s a little hard to take the first step – especially when that means leaving everything that you know and are comfortable with behind. It’s kind of funny how a movie about male strippers actually leaves you with question about your own life. You’d think that being a girl living in the suburbs of middle America that I wouldn’t have anything in common with a guy who takes his clothes off for a living. But that’s what’s so surprising about this movie – how anyone can relate to this story.
The Contrast Between the Two Worlds
You see this within the first ten minutes of the movie when you’re presented with two very different scenes. The first shot is the loud and crazy strip club world, where women are screaming and the music is blaring. The second is an incredibly quiet scene where we first meet Mike getting ready to go to work on a construction site. This stark contrast is a bit jarring, especially when you’re in an audience filled with hyper active women. I suppose the effect is supposed to show you how the world on the stage is so different from real life, but when you go from really loud party scenes to absolute silence it’s a little shocking. Some of the audience had some trouble with the switch, laughing at parts that should have been silent and serious. I didn’t really enjoy the sharp opposites, but perhaps once the initial buzz dies down I might be able to appreciate the artistic choices instead of just getting mad that people are talking throughout the movie.
Short Glimpses of Stripping Scenes
After all the interviews the guys did about certain things that happened while they were dancing (such as Matthew McConaughey losing his thong to a bunch of enthusiastic extras), I was excited to see those scenes. Unfortunately we’re really only given quick glimpses of the action. I’m the kind of person who, when listening to the radio in the car, likes hearing a song all the way through. Many of my friends do not share this view, and are constantly changing the station – I refer to them as song A.D.D. This perfectly describes how I felt about the stripping scenes in Magic Mike. While they were a lot of fun to watch you don’t really get the whole song. Don’t get me wrong, they are some really great snapshots. But I wanted to see the entire routine. I suppose I’ll have to wait for the DVD to see the full monty (figuratively speaking, because you do actually see Joe Manganiello’s full monty).
The Supporting Actors
If you check out the poster for Magic Mike, it features five hot guys in various states of undress. I was certainly excited to see all the hot boys of the review, with True Blood’s Joe Manganiello and White Collar’s Matt Bomer on my wish list. But they definitely fade into the background of Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer’s story of mentor and student. We’re really only given brief and sometimes confusing glances into what it’s like for the others to be in the stripping world. The subject is certainly intriguing enough that my interest is peaked - I want to see more. So along with their scenes of stripping, I need a little more information on their lives. They should be more than just man candy, just as Mike is more than just his on stage persona.
Overall: 4 stars out of 5
Magic Mike is a movie that I wouldn’t mind checking out again once all the screaming women have left the theater. I understand the desire to see this movie with a bunch of girlfriends, I did the same thing. It’s like going to a strip club without having to bring a bunch of $1 bills - you’re there to have fun and join the party. But it was distracting having a bunch of ladies giggling and talking the entire time. Magic Mike goes a little deeper than just guys in banana hammocks. While that is a big, and fun, part of the movie it’s not the whole picture. It’s true focus is about one guy trying to find out who he is between the big glamorous world of the stage and the real world you come back to when the lights turn on. So, go see the movie to enjoy the rock hard abs. But be prepared to go a little further than the skin and leave the theater wanting more than just Matthew McConaughey’s tight butt.
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