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The Cinematic Katzenjammer: Nov 16: Magic Mike


Nov 16: Magic Mike

"A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money."
Directed by: Steven Soderbergh, Rated: R, 110 minutes

There has been so much excitement surrounding Magic Mike, most of it coming from the middle-aged female demographic. Thus, my hestitance on finally getting around to watching it can be justified. It's simply not the kind of film I'd be running to see nor really get that enthusiastic about. However, after watching the movie, it's really not exactly what I expected and proves to be decent, if anything. It's a misguided movie that has several glaring flaws but it does have some great performances and a lot of energy. Even if that energy comes from the sequences featuring muscled men tearing off their clothes to dance remixes of popular songs.

It's raining men (with STDs)!

Channing Tatum stars as Mike in his quasi-auto-biographical film about an aspiring entrepreneur who's looking to get out of the world of male stripping and find his place in the world (like every stripper hopes for!). Mike takes Adam under his naked wing and gets him a job at the Xquisite Strip Club run by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Naive, immature, and at times, out of control, Adam proves to be a challenge. Mike realizes that the kid's arrogance and ignorance remind him too much of himself and only strengthen his desire to get out of the stripping game. Mike also sees himself compared to Dallas and Tarzan (Kevin Nash), two older strippers that realize there's nothing else for them in the world and that they've not only settled but have no desire to change. Of course, you can't have an entire movie about male strippers and not have some women so Mike falls in love with Adam's sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), as well as juggling a strictly physical relationship with Joanna (a topless Olivia Munn's ).

Yes, the super "nerd" gets naked. 

I'm a straight man but I have to say the most entertaining parts of Magic Mike are the actual sequences at the strip club. Each dance number is full of energy and style and makes you wish you were a six-pack toting man on a stage grabbing up all sorts of dollar bills. Well, it didn't make me wish I was on stage as much as it made me feel really out of shape. For any of you hesitant on watching the film, during these strip scenes the only thing shown is a bunch of muscle and banana hammocks. It never goes "too far" and focuses more on the excitement in the club than the junk in the pants. Director Steven Soderbergh (Ocean's 11f) is a master at capturing the moment and the energy of his environments and changing the setting to a strip club doesn't change anything. While Soderbergh doesn't elevate these sequences to beautiful works of art, he manages to make them tolerable and fun (for everyone). They're most certainly the takeaway of the film and the scenes between full of "story" and a romantic subplot are just boring. Mike is the pure focus of the film and his rather interesting co-stars are never given any depth or back story. Fortunately, Channing Tatum does a great job in the role and probably has the best performance of the film. Hitting close to home (as he was a stripper before acting), Tatum submerges himself in the familiarity and isn't embarrassed by it. He's an entertainer with a dream and Tatum jumps in and out of character with ease. Unfortunately, his love interest in the very unattractive Cody Horn lacks any of that same charisma and feels like a complete mismatch. They lack any chemistry and their relationship makes the entire film suffer. However, while Magic Mike won't be considered his Forrest Gump or My Left Foot, it's a step in the right direction for Channing Tatum and he shows he has some genuine talent.

I'll admit, the punk can act.

Magic Mike is far from terrific. It's poorly paced, has moments that are incredibly boring, and doesn't really have an ending. While Mike develops as a character throughout the film, you're never rewarded with seeing where he goes or what he has planned. Instead of being involved in his journey, the audience just takes a peek at a small part of his life and those surrounding him. Looking back on the movie in the future, all that will be remembered is the fact that it is "the male stripper movie" but I'd like to see it as the movie that showed us Channing Tatum has talent as an actor. Yes, it's forgettable and yes, it's nothing special, but I'd still recommend Magic Mike. It's a fun look at a world not many are familiar with (nor really want to be) and has enough energy to keep you entertained, even if it putters out from time to time. Go for the show but leave your dollar bills at home. Yep, I'm ending this review with that.

The Good:
Channing Tatum's performance and some very interesting scenes at the strip club
The Bad:
poorly paced script that lacks any substance or depth and drags on way too often
The Ugly:
actually enjoying particular parts of the film, knowing completely ahead of time the subject matter

Overall: 6.2/10

Discussion Question:
Showgirls or Magic Mike?


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At November 16, 2012 at 11:11 PM , Blogger TheVern said...

I too am a straight male and enjoyed this flick a lot. I watched this and Showgirls in the same night, and the dance routines in Magic Mike are a bit better.

At November 16, 2012 at 11:15 PM , Blogger Nick said...

Glad to know I'm not the only one lol.


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