There are certain professions that a fella at his basest might like to do. A stripper probably has that kind of appeal. The thought of having women desire you while paying you to dance really badly has a certain charm to it. Magic Mike will shatter that illusion. It presents a grimy,look at the world of male exotic dancing and while it isn’t the strongest drama in the world it is both earnest and solid.
A male stripper, Mike (Channing Tatum) teaches a younger guy Adam ( Alex Pettyfer) how to be a performer. Mike has a plan to get out of stripping and to become a part owner with the enigmatic Patriarch stripper Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) plans to invest and diversify into his dream of making custom furniture.
Things I Liked:
Yes these guys spend a lot of time in the gym
- Some great performances from the cast: I will be the first to admit I have never really given Channing Tatum the time of day. So much so that I had to check if I was even typing his name correctly. But he has surprised me lately first with his comic timing in 21 Jump St and now with his sincerity here. His character is likable without being a carboard cut out. Add to this the deliciously slimy Matthew McConaughey.Throw in Cody Horn as the warm and normal love interest and you have quite a surprising range here.
- The Delicious washed out aesthetic of Tampa Florida: Soderbergh and his technical team make a dirty location that helps accentuate the mood of the film.
- A great balance of comedy and drama: The film manages to have some great laugh out lines but manages to get quieter when needed and the tragedy and perversity of the industry comes though on occasions.
Things I Didn’t:
- Bad two-dimensional characters: I feel like I have been wrestling with this in a number of movies lately. With regards to Magic Mike, what is the point of Olivia Munn here except to distract boyfriends that might have got dragged along to the movie. Even Alex Pettyfer character who is a main character is a loser and well that is all he is. Please develop these characters or make their existence mean something to the plot.
- Doesn’t know whether it wants to titillate or to repulse: As much as male strippers don’t’ really appeal to me I imagine there is a certain part of the audience for which it would. There are these great dances and what I assume sexy sequences but then you have the behavior of its audience which is often desperate and perverse. I get that this is meant to portray how it really is. However, it seems like it sending a mixed message to make the dancer look so talented and artistic when it all amounts to naught. If you want to get girl’s bums on the seat then make it a sexy movie if you want to show the depravity of the world then show that. You can’t have it both ways.
- Pulls it punches: The film goes for gritty then shies away from tackling the issues. Take for example the character of Adam. First he likes to drink too much, then some drugs and then he sells them and then….nothing. It doesn’t go anywhere. I was thinking about another film that looked at the world of adult entertainment, Boogie Nights. It wallows in the despair and the griminess of the world that it is portraying. It would be safe then to call Magic Mike- Boogie Nights Lite.
Should You See It?
I don’t think this is a question that is simply decided on the gender divide. Sure this is a movie about male strippers but so was The Full Monty. It really tries hard and on some level works to be a drama with heart with a few good laughs added into the mix. It often succeeds at doing both of these things. I would hesitate to get you to go to the movies for this one. though, It is a video rental most definitely but one you can feel confident in.