You know when you say yes to think because it sounds funny at the time, but then when the day comes, you’re really hoping to get a headache so you have an excuse to not do the thing that you said yes to? For me, that thing was Magic Mike.
Magic Mike is a film about toned male strippers that dry hump floors and women. The storyline doesn’t matter, but I’ll give you the quick rundown just so you can tell the hubby that you went to see it for the story.
19-year-old Adam (Alex Pettyfer) has just moved to Tampa and is living on his sister couch. He gets a job on a construction site, where he meets Mike (Channing Tatum). He quits after the first day after his supervisor catches him stealing soda, but the next day, he gets his lucky break. He sees Mike standing in line for a club, and starts chatting to him. Mike decides to take Adam under his wing as his helper, firstly to get girls to go to the strip club that Mike works at, then to help with props and finally to fill in for one of the strippers. In next to no time, Alex is shopping for g-strings and gyrating to the cries of crazy women. Long story short, Alex gets seduced by drugs, alcohol and casual sex, while Mike slowly falls for Alex’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who – strangely enough – isn’t into 30-year-old male strippers who don’t seem to be following their so-called-dream of becoming a custom furniture designer.
The film is loosely based on Channing Tatum’s personal experience as a 19-year-old stripper in Tampa, so I feel a bit cautious about ripping it to shreds… who am I kidding, he’s not going to read this, plus I hear he’s a lot better at dancing than reading. His acting also seems to have mildly improved from his ‘Step Up’ days, but most women would argue that they don’t go to see him for his acting. And if you’re one of those women, you’re in for a treat, because you see a whole lot of not only him, but there’s a man for almost every woman’s taste, even semi-sleazy Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), the club owner who keeps trying to rip off his staff. McConaughey brings his superb satirical humor, and you’re (or was that just me?) left wanting more acting from him, and less action from the others.
The film is extremely shallow and doesn’t even attempt to touch on the double-standards surrounding the world of stripping, but rather focuses on a love story you couldn’t care less about. This lack of caring comes from Horns’ shallow character and acting that’s as flat as Tatum’s abs. I have read a few reviews saying that the film is multi-layered with the male bodies and fun on the other layer, and a powerful, underlying love story and drama. I found the love story predictable and ‘Hollywood’ and the drama went by the way-side in lieu of dance moves and nakedness. The story was left unfinished, as if they had written it, started filming it, realized that with all the stripping scenes, it was going to be too long, so instead of cutting them down, they just cut out the ending. Having said that, according to Tatum’s Twitter, there is going to be a sequel.
Despite all my raving about how you get to see almost full-frontal male nudity, I actually didn’t enjoy any of it. I still can’t get my head around male strippers – or any kind of strippers for that matter. But if you enjoy seeing washboard abs and tight buns, this is the kind of film you’d go see with the ladies for a bit of a laugh. I did hear a few excited ladies on the way out of the cinema and have seen a few positive Facebook statuses from friends, so if you enjoy male cabaret and plays like Puppetry of the Penis or Vagina Monologues, chances are you’ll have a good time. Perhaps after seeing a few of Steven Soderbergh’s films and some brilliantly scripted, acted and shot films lately *cough* Batman *cough* Safety not Guaranteed *cough*cough* I went in with higher expectations in terms of storyline, and ended up blushing my way through a very dull and long film.
Reviewed by: Nerice Collins