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Magic Mike - Cinemaholic Movie Reviews
one person's obsessive addiction to film
Magic Mike
Directing: B
Acting: B-
Writing: C
Cinematography: B+
Editing: B

There have been some complaints that there is too little actual stripping in Magic Mike. Seriously? This is the problem people have with this movie? Honestly there's plenty of mouthwatering skin to look at, whether it's the stripping scenes -- of which, actually, there are plenty -- or just in the countless scenes where hot guys are hanging out shirtless.

But. But -- admittedly, the marketing campaign for this movie was a little misleading. The trailer kind of did make it look like the movie was mostly strip shows. Now, I didn't particularly expect that; this is still a Steven Soderbergh movie after all -- I figured there would be a story. What I didn't figure on was a story that was so forgettable. I mean, if you're going to lure people in with hot guys, you could at least offer a story that's better than blah.

The story is reportedly based on Channing Tatum's own experiences as a 19-year-old stripper, before he became an actor. I don't know if Tatum's real-life story was just like any other story with strippers, sex and drugs (the fact that the strippers are men scarcely makes a difference), but someone should have told script write Reid Carolin to punch it up a little better.

Tatum, now 32, obviously couldn't play the 19-year-old, so that part went to Alex Pettyfer, as Adam. Tatum is the title character, a seasoned stripper who trolls other clubs to hook young women into coming to the club where he works. Mike does several other jobs, including construction work, where he discovers Adam. How he sees any such potential in Adam, I have no idea. But he brings Adam along on one of his trolling gigs, and before we know it, Adam is pushed out onto the stage, shyly undressing. The women eat it up. He settles comfortably into a world of -- have I mentioned this already? -- strippers, sex and drugs.

Magic Mike could have gone in all sorts of truly compelling directions, and instead seems to treat lightly on any of them, thereby robbing itself of any lasting impact. There's a very odd display of sexuality going on here. It's always made very clear that all the male dancers are straight, although they're primping and costuming themselves backstage and constantly hugging each other while shirtless. This movie had a float in the L.A. Pride parade, clearly figuring gay men would be part of their target audience. The closest thing to gay content in the film is the bisexual woman Mike regularly hooks up with.

If the story is patently average, the actors are above average. Well, most of them. Matthew McConaughey was born to play the middle-aged (yet still absolutely fit enough to be a stripper) club owner, and he sinks his teeth into the part. The movie might have been more entertaining (and, at the end of the day, less conventional) with more of him in it. Cody Horn, as Adam's sister and Mike's maybe-love-interest, is about the only one who elicits some genuine empathy. Channing, on the other hand -- well, he proved to have some surprising acting chops in 21 Jump Street, but honestly you wouldn't know it from seeing him here.

But, yes, you get to see a lot of his ass. There's not much in the way of full frontal, if you're wondering. There's a sort-of sight gag involving one of the other strippers using a penis pump; not exactly sexy. There's a lot of ass cheeks across the board in the stripping sequences. But you know what? You can save ten (or more) bucks, watch all the same asses on the Internet for free, and pretty much get the same effect.

Magic Mike moves along in a way that makes it easy to go along with it gamely, as long as you're there. There's nothing terrible about it. It's watchable, for a multitude of reasons. That said, there's also nothing in it that you're terribly missing out on if you don't bother. Taken on the whole, it's fine. But shouldn't it be better than that?

Channing Tatum milks the audience in MAGIC MIKE.

Overall: B-
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