Film Review — Magic Mike
Sorry for my absence, y’all! WordPress went hokey on Friday and wouldn’t let me post pictures, so I had to abandon the post I’d planned for that day.
Anyhow, I did something rather silly yesterday. I went to see Magic Mike in the theater, by myself, out of sheer curiosity.
(movie still from justjared.com)
Let me say up front, I am not a fan of male strippers. Something about a guy wriggling around in a g-string while screaming women stuff dollar bills in the elastic makes me acutely embarrassed for everyone involved. However, I did enjoy the movie and can give it a cautious thumbs-up. Will it win any awards? No. Will it make you feel better about the world? Eh, no, but I consider that an advantage. I expected a traditional feel-good movie ending, and Magic Mike doesn’t really deliver on that front. What it does is portray the world these people live in as much more nuanced (and hard to escape) than you would expect. From what I’ve heard, Channing Tatum wrote the script based on his experiences in a male show so a lot of the characters and story lines ring true.
1) Channing Tatum. The boy can dance, and I’m starting to have some serious appreciation for his acting skills as well. He has excellent comic timing and no self-consciousness — watch him launch himself into a fistfight while nearly naked, and you’ll be cringing at the potential damage.
2) Matthew McConaughey. He was pretty much born to play this role, and he revels in it.
3) The movie avoids a number of traditional boy-girl cliches. Mike’s friend-with-benefits Joanna is a well-rounded character, the Kid’s sister (played by Cody Horn, daughter of former Warner president Alan Horn) isn’t a fan of stripping and never does accept it, there is no blame or condescension for anyone’s sexuality. There ARE some creeptastic moments from a sexual perspective, but nearly all of them are due to recreational drug use which Magic Mike roundly condemns. By the way, some reviews accuse Horn of ruining the movie but I think her understated performance works for the character, who actually does spend much of the movie being confused, exasperated or disgusted.
4) Gabriel Iglesias, Joe Manganiello, and Adam Rodriguez turn in excellent side performances.
1) Alex Pettyfer. He’s been accused in the press of being a diva on set, but I can’t tell how much of my distaste for him is actually due to the character he plays.
2) Matt Bomer. I continue to be mystified at people who call Matt Bomer an actor. He can show up and look pretty, but I have yet to see him act in anything and in this movie, he concentrates so hard during the dance scenes that he looks like he’s trying to perform brain surgery.
3) Kevin Nash, who plays Tarzan. To be fair to Mr. Nash, his appearance and behavior are much more typical of my experiences with male stripping than the pretty guys in Magic Mike. However, I’m not sure he can dance and after the first few minutes, his character barely speaks or interacts with the other guys. Also, I mistook him for Mickey Rourke until I saw the final credits at the end.
So…if you’ve got a couple free hours, you could do worse than watching Magic Mike.