Magic Mike

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Posted June 30, 2012 by in

Rating

Total Score
 
 
 
 
 

3.5/ 5

Quick Stats

Genre: comedy, musical
 
Director: Steven Soderbergh
 
MPAA Rating: R
 
Actors: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn
 
Length: 110 minutes
 
Release Date: 6/29/2012
 
Studio: Iron Horse Entertainment (II) (as Iron Horse), Extension 765
 
 
What We Thought

Male-stripper musical reveals truth about real happiness.

by Daniel Hodgson
Full Article
Relax guys, your internet habits have prepared you for this.  There’s nothing in Magic Mike you haven’t seen before—less actually.  No, they don’t show you know what.  Just a lot of flexing pecs, curled biceps, and buns—lots of buns.  There are a couple of token shots of female nudity.  There, happy?  Magic Mike is actually a surprisingly funny comedy for the first two acts.  And besides, if your girlfriend sat through Showgirls for you, you owe her one.  Man up.
     Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is 19 years old, at odds with the world, and broke.  He meets Mike (Channing Tatum), who arranges for the kid to handle props at the male strip club where he works.  When one of the performers can’t go on stage, Mike has Adam take his place.  Adam bashfully strips to “Like a Virgin.”  The ladies devour his awkward, innocent performance, showering him with cash.  Dallas (Mathew McConaughey), the owner and emcee of the club, sees the kid’s potential.  Dallas and Mike initiate the kid into the world of live adult entertainment, which includes a shopping spree at the adult store.
     If only Adam had hid his newly purchased collection of g-strings, etc. in his room, rather than on the living room couch, where Brooke (Cody Horn), his sister and roommate, could find it.  Brooke goes to the club, to discover that her brother is indeed a stripper.  She stays long enough to watch Mike’s routine, entranced, before leaving.  Mike pursues Brooke, while looking after Adam like a big brother.
     Adam is one of those know-nothing, blank slate characters that writers throw into stories so that the main character can dump exposition onto them for the benefit of the audience.  He’s not particularly well-defined or interesting, so when the third act manufactures a life-threatening crisis for the trouble-prone lad, we’re not invested enough for the scene to hit the heavy dramatic note it’s going for.  The third act belongs more to Traffic than Magic Mike‘s own script, being too severe for a light musical comedy about half-naked dancers.
     However, the story also belongs to Mike.  Mike saves up his earnings from his evening job (when does he sleep?) so he can open up his own business, but struggles with the bank for a loan.  Mike often gives Adam a ride home, and refuses Adam’s offer of gas money.  He’s ambitious, hard-working, and generous.  Most importantly, he has too much humility to brag about a good deed.  An admirable fellow, really.
     Once again, Tatum shows his comic prowess as he did in 21 Jump Street, casually delivering lines like, “Yes, I was talking to your sister while you were dragging that woman across the stage,” allowing the joke to tell itself without embellishment.  Tatum’s physical performance as a dancer in Magic Mike is impressive as well, showing agility and coordination in a raw display of unabashed masculine sexuality–the art of dance is where you find it.
     Of course, that very impulse lends itself to comedy.  Various objects stand in for male anatomy, umbrellas, etc., and the substitution—the disparity between what we expect and what is given—is funny.
     For as much as it celebrates the exhibition of flesh, Magic Mike ultimately posits that there is no love or friendship when money and pleasure go hand-in-hand, that easy, anonymous sex does not solve loneliness and unfulfillment.  Real happiness just isn’t that easy.

About the Author

Daniel Hodgson

Daniel has a degree in film from the University of Texas at Austin, and writes about himself in the third-person, because that's the fashion.

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