Will You Welcome to the Stage, the One, the Only … MAGIC MIKE!
When I first heard about today’s movie, I knew it would only be a matter of time before it was requested. It was even easier to reach that conclusion since I heard about it from a request from my friend Christian. It certainly wasn’t a movie that appealed to me personally and, since it was still in the theaters, I felt like it would just have to wait to be reviewed until I could find it in a RedBox. But Christian was not alone. Ashley seconded the idea, my sister liked the idea, and Bob thought it would be funny as well. By the time Loni requested it, I decided that was it. I’d have to see this movie while it was still in theaters. My readers just could not wait long enough for this to be on DVD. They needed my thoughts now. There was still the problem of my masculinity while purchasing a ticket to this movie, but Liz and Bonnie helped me with that. I’m seeing this movie with two ladies! I cannot possibly be gay! But I’ll still see if I can write this review with a lisp as I review Magic Mike, written by Reid Carolin, directed by Steven Soderbergh, and starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias, Olivia Munn, and Riley Keough.
On a construction site, Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) meets a slacker named Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who moved to Tampa, Florida to live with his sister, Brooke (Cody Horn). Later on, Adam sees Mike as he’s trying to get into a club and Mike gets him in in exchange for a favor to be named later. The two of them get a group of girls interested in coming to a male strip club called Xquisite. When they arrive at Xquisite later, we find that Mike works there and his favor will be for Adam to help out backstage with the props of the other strippers, Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), and Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello). When Tarzan gets too drunk (or high or something), the owner of the club, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) talks Adam into getting on stage in his place. Taking to the money, excitement, and women, Adam starts working permanently at Xquisite while Mike tries to bang his sister.
Here’s the stunning reveal: this movie was actually not that bad. It’s a fairly basic, but charming, story with a few minor problems and, of course, the major problem that the film insisted on banging it’s cock against my head every five minutes or so. The story of the movie, from what I’ve gathered, is an interpretation of Channing Tatum’s life before he started appearing in movies, and isn’t a whole lot more than the life and times of a male stripper. He has problems with his fairly lonely lifestyle as his “girlfriend” is more of a fuck buddy that doesn’t actually have any interest in hanging out with him, and then he has money problems because he has shitty credit and wants to open a furniture business. Adam causes a few problems for him because he takes it upon himself to take care of him while he’s getting a little too interested in the dark side of stripping, like the using and selling of drugs, and he’s taking extra care so he doesn’t get on the bad side of Brooke, who he would really like to bang. And that’s basically it. The way this movie charms is with the comedy, which comes with a fair degree of frequency, and some good dialogue, but only about half of it. Sometimes the dialogue came off as cute and charming and funny, but sometimes it just seemed like they improvised too much. Leaving in people stumbling over their words does help to make the movie feel a little more real, but I can watch real life anywhere. I just choose not to. I was watching a movie, so I’d appreciate it if they could form their sentences all the time. The ending of the movie was also a little abrupt and unsatisfying, but it was still a decent enough happy ending so I didn’t walk away too disappointed.
Let’s face facts: this movie was not meant for me. I’m a straight dude. This movie has a very targeted audience and that is anything with a pussy. I imagine every single one of them will love it. Straight men might even love taking their girlfriends to it, or at least allowing their girlfriends to see it, because I imagine they come home hungry for some penis. What the movie does for me in this instance is just make me feel embarrassed. I don’t look like all that man meat! Not at all! The ladies will probably approve of the somewhat sweet love story they can find here, but they’re probably going to be more about the stripping, and I’ll try to get into the head of a gay dude to describe it. It was fabulous! Straight me would say it was very well done and will certainly give the ladies what they came to this movie for. I was trying to focus on everything else personally, but the guys were all big piles of man meat, to be sure. And the greater majority of them could really dance. The dancing was actually kind of interesting to watch and seemed well-choreographed. Well, they started out that way. They mostly ended up with a basic “Put dick in face and thrust” move, but they were actually pretty interesting until that part. And they were well-filmed as well, being very colorful and full of the same spectacle you might actually find in a male strip club … for all I know. I’ve never been to one! I don’t know if this is all the ladies are looking for, but there’s really no dick in this movie, so don’t go if penis is all you want. You see the silhouette of one about twice … not that I was counting or anything. …cough…
Let’s quickly switch topic to the performances! Channing Tatum was pretty enjoyable in this movie. He was mostly charming and definitely still knew how to do the stripping side of the movie. He was the one most guilty of seeming unpracticed in his dialogue, but I still blame the director more for letting it slide. Alex Pettyfer was pretty quiet and didn’t do much, but I did think it was funny that his first time stripping was reminiscent of Coco from Fame, without the crying. Cody Horn was mostly good as Brooke. Not only was she pretty damned cute, but she did pretty good with the acting as well. Didn’t mind seeing her in a bikini either. Her character got a little annoying with how judgmental she was, though. On the other hand, I don’t really know how I’d react if I were being courted by a female stripper. Doesn’t SEEM like the kind of girl I’d want to date, but I guess that just depends on the girl. As a little something for the fellas, Olivia Munn has a pretty prolonged scene in the movie where her boobs are on full display that I was entirely torn on. It’s something that I’ve touched on before in my reviews, but I don’t really like seeing people that I like get nude in movies. I love seeing boobs, and Olivia Munn has a great set of them, but I don’t think I really wanted to see her nude. I like her because she’s funny and cute and seeing her boobs ruin my mental image of her for some reason. Maybe it’s just because I feel bad that she felt like she had to do it in the first place. She could have totally had a shirt on in that scene and it wouldn’t have changed anything. I guess she just felt that all the guys were getting far more naked, so why not? Alright, I should move on. I’ve talked about her boobs too much for the people that are actually interested in reading this review. Big Dick Richie! I don’t actually have anything to say about him as he was an uneventful character; I just wanted to get your attention back. One thing that did keep my attention was Kevin Nash, former WCW wrestler. I recognized him the second I saw him and was interested to see what he was going to do in this movie, but he didn’t do a whole lot. The main issue I had with him was that a combination of his age and compounded injuries over his wrestling days made it pretty obvious that he should no longer be trying to dance alongside these young and virile fellas. To me, Matthew McConaughey brought my attention to something that I started seeing in the rest of the cast too: they all seemed to be just acting like themselves if they were strippers instead of actually giving a performance. Matthew McConaughey was the greatest offender with this, being every bit the “alright, alright” McConaughey that he really is. At one point, he gets in Channing Tatum’s face about something that actually stretched his acting chops, but the rest of the time was just keep living time.
So there it is. Magic Mike was not as bad as I expected it to be. The story was pretty basic, but still managed to be a charming look at the life of a male stripper. The performances were all well done even though most of them just seemed to be the stripper versions of all of the actors, and I occasionally had problems with the dialogue seeming unrehearsed. But, let’s face it, none of those things – or even my opinion – will make anyone see this movie. Guys won’t do it because that would make them gay, and girls have already seen it 27 times. But I will tell you guys that it’s not actually that bad if you can manage to not be made uncomfortable by long scenes of man meat. And I will also tell you girls that you are perverts. Magic Mike gets “Liz loved it” out of “Bonnie too.”
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