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Review: Magic Mike

July 14, 2012

Film + Entertainment | by Francesco Cerniglia


Ladies, leave your men at home. Magic Mike is only for lovers of men in uniform, leather chaps and elephant-eared thongs. The guys are topless for the entire duration of the film and Channing Tatum makes a remarkable comeback to his Step Up days with an entourage of mixed male delights that literally make it rain on stage. Don’t expect any truly enlightening life-changing drama here; this is pretty much director Steven Soderbergh’s version of Boogie Nights in HD. Just don’t scream too loudly after the first five minutes into the movie. It only gets better.

Among the random inserts of sex toys from The Ugly Truth and Burn After Reading we’re pushing borders with some male props that pump up backstage before a wildly sexy performance to “It’s Raining Men,” with some of the most delirious pelvis gyrating moves and hip-rolling choreography lead by the hunky Channing Tatum. It’s difficult to tire of him with those hip hop dance moves and the very loosely-hung sweat pants. Is the air conditioning working in this cinema or what?

Matthew McConaughey occasionally steals the stage playing the ring leader for the band of misfits he’s recruited. Going by the name of ‘Dallas,’ he feeds the boys just enough to leave them coming back every night. Whether it’s the cut-off tops or bongo-playing you’re after, or just that slick all-American accent, you just can’t help yearning for him to get on the stage and strut his stuff. As disappointing as it sounds, the only thing Channing Tatum has going for him is that adorable butt and sexy dancing. He’s still too flat of an actor to hold down an entire feature film alone.

With that being said, I have a bone to pick with whoever cast Cody Horn as the love interest. She plays Brooke, the older sister of ‘the kid’ Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a woman who seriously needs to take a chill pill. We can all see the resemblance to Kristen Stewart in terms of awkward romantic tension, but there was absolutely no need to draw on vampires in the script (oh yes, they did!). And poor Olivia Munn plays an equally unimportant role with very little focus on her character, or even what she’s wearing. Or should I say what she isn’t wearing?

But all sexiness aside, there isn’t much else going on. There’s a faint hint that we’re targeting an economic moment where desperate people are doing desperate things just to get by, but it’s masked behind the playful camaraderie between Mike and Adam. Drawing to Channing Tatum’s own experiences in the biz, Adam is a nineteen year old drop-out in need of guidance that inevitably gets involved with the wrong group of guys. There’s enough sex, money and drugs to get the picture without really having to get too deep into what strippers truly have to go through (prepare for an Indie movie about an angry female stripper to be released in the next few years).

Magic Mike barely scratches the surface on the struggle most entertainers face when being labelled entertainers. Mike says, “I’m not my job,” when he completely embodies a lifestyle he plans to leave but inevitably doesn’t. This is when things get heavy and we almost get a taste of what it’s like to be a stripper. But then the obvious happens (I won’t fill you in with the details) and before you know it, the credits are rolling. Is it just me or did that just come out of nowhere? Maybe they’re keeping it open for a sequel. If so, let’s not have Michael Fassbender, please and thank you.

Amanda Chen.