There's been a very clever e-card floating around the internet lately that states, "'I want to see Magic Mike for the compelling storyline,' said no woman, ever." Still, the hordes of women who have already finished the Fifty Shades of Grey books and are now looking for their next thrill will be pleased to know that aside from the copious amounts of eye candy, there is also a halfway decent plot and some solid dialogue thrown in the mix. That's nice because it makes it feel less like soft-core porn that way. Not a pizza delivery man in sight.
Channing Tatum plays the titular Magic Mike, and he's a stripper with a heart of gold. Well, he's a charismatic young man who works four jobs in order to become more than just a man who takes his clothes off for a living. During one of his day jobs in constructions, he meets "The Kid" (Alex Pettyfer) and since The Kid sucks at roofing, he helps him schmooze some sorority girls and gets him a job at Xquisite taking off his clothes for cash. And when Mike meets The Kid's sister Brooke (Cody Horn), he's enchanted by the fact that while she may be intrigued by his charms, she doesn't fall all over him like the women at the club do. It's not the most original story in the world, but it is tinged with a sadness about the dead-end nature of his job. Even the always energetic Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) realizes that the longevity of this career isn't endless as he seeks to open up a bigger shop in Miami. And Mike has dreams of making custom furniture, but the economic realities get him down -- that and the fact that he's alone with no real relationship to rely on, just the occasional flings with the exceptionally sexually adventurous Joanna (Olivia Munn). And there's a potentially dangerous foray into the drug world. It almost gets depressing, but then there's more stripping to keep this film the light summer romp that it should be, instead of, say, Shame.
Aside from the obvious appeal, here are the most magical things about this movie:
Matthew McConaughey Is Perfect in This Role
He's living it up, playing the bongos, walking around in the craziest outfits you can think of, trying to breathe fire and doing a really raunchy dance with Pettyfer. He's bizarre and charming, lands most of the comical lines of the movie and behaves much like how you'd want the owner/host of an all-male revue to be. We'd pay more cash to see the outtakes with him.
It's All the Fun of a Male Strip Club, But Far More Attractive
While there are certainly a plethora of Chippendale-esque establishments around, the ones we've been to have never had men that look like Joe Manganiello or Matthew Bomer, and we're pretty sure that the few attractive men we've seen covered in sticky oil weren't actually straight. Here, these men are pure fantasy come to life, and they can all really dance.
Channing Tatum Steps Up
His dance numbers are really wonderful, as you'd expect from the star of the original Step Up, but he also does his darndest to carry the acting weight of this movie and he's mostly successful. He's far more appealing here than he was in The Vow, as this character seems a little more multi-dimensional than some of the previous attractive blocks of wood he's portrayed (it doesn't hurt that he's a former stripper in real life). He's getting a better sense of when to pour on the charm and when to hold back, and while his crying could still use some work, there's a noticeable improvement.
It's Not Showgirls
While there is something to be said for the campy and (at the time) edgy Showgirls, it really is just a funny cult film now, what with all of Nomi's sparkling dialogue and ridiculous eating habits. Here, there's no forced rivalries or stilted exchanges -- it genuinely just feels like a bunch of guys hanging out talking about how best to woo women and get a lot of cash.
The Sexiest Scene Involves Tatum Fully Clothed
Yeah, you read that right. Mike, not in his magic form, goes to the bank all suited up with a pile of cash and tries to convince a loan officer to give him the money to start his business and frankly, it is just hot. Who'd have thought talking about down payments would be such a turn on?
Something For Everyone
While much has been made of the half-naked men, we must also point out that there is also a bunch of female nudity, most notably from Olivia Munn, who spends a good couple of minutes just standing around topless. So all those male, hetero significant others who get dragged to the theaters this weekend can have something to enjoy as well.
The Dancing Is Hot
Let's be honest, the beefcake is the reason for the buzz around this movie, and audiences won't be disappointed in that regard. There are butts and a little bit of frontal nudity to be enjoyed, and the dance numbers are actually pretty wonderful. They are shot so that they almost make you feel like you're in a slightly seedy Tampa establishment watching these guys, instead of being staged in typical over-produced movie musical fashion.
The film could use a little bit more character development, since there's no real information on how Mike ended up at this point in his life, or why Brooke and The Kid are so co-dependent. And Horn seems poorly cast for this role, coming across as forgettable instead of the enigmatic woman who manages to catch the eye of Magic Mike. But those are really small quibbles. We went in expecting something as preposterous as Burlesque and instead got much more. In fact, we'd love a sequel that follows Dallas to Miami... though too bad the title Debbie Does Dallas is already taken.
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