Magic Mike (2012)
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Matthew McConaughey, James Martin Kelly. Cody Horn, Reid Carolin, Avery Camp, George A. Sack, Micaela Johnson, Denise Vasi, Camryn Grimes, Kate Easton, Asher Wallis, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias
Synopsis: A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.
MPAA Rating: Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use
8 / 10
- Acting was fairly decent
- Decent script, with some likable characters
- Cinematography work was great
- Well paced
- Direction was good
- Channing Tatum was surprisingly good in this movie.
- Romance involving Tatum's character feels a bit underwhelming
Is it possible for a straight man to honestly say he enjoyed watching "Magic Mike?"
If someone had told me that I'd end up thoroughly enjoying a film that featured male strippers, then I probably would've dismissed it as a joke. Heck, the very idea would've been laughable had anyone told me that I'd end up liking it, but I surprisingly did. If you look past the film's obvious sexual exploitation of male strippers, then you'll see there's actually a deep underlying story there.
Granted, I wouldn't say it's anything Oscar worthy, but it does add quite a bit of substance to what would've been a tasteless exploitation film designed to appease horny schoolgirls and desperate old women.
The story involves a male stripper named Mike, who does construction work by day, while moonlighting as a male stripper by night. However, Mike has bigger aspirations in life, as he yearns to make a living designing furniture someday. He inevitably meets a young man during his day job, who he decides to introduce into the wildlife of stripping. Emotions run high, and the things start to heat up in South Beach. Through a series of events, he also meets the young man's sister, as they share something of a mutual attraction.
Although this film might seem like nothing more than mom porn for old ladies to drool over on the surface, what lies beneath is a tragic tale about a man that's stuck working a dead end job, while harboring aspirations for bigger and better things in life.
Mike may be a professional male dancer on the outside, but he doesn't want to be one for the rest of his life. As he dates this new girl, he yearns to impress her by showing her who the real Mike is, but a series of events happen to where they have a falling out. And even though he does try to prove to her that he's more than a male dancer, she quickly reminds him that only person he needs to convince is himself.
This is powerful message that anyone can draw from, which makes "Magic Mike" an interesting story to watch. Instead of trying to convince everyone else who you really are, maybe you should try convincing yourself first and foremost. As a friend once reminded me years ago, a job is nothing more than a piece of clothing, as a profession doesn't define who you are a person. Only you can choose to be who you wish to be in life, and "Magic Mike" plays on this theme quite beautifully.
As most of my readers might know, I'm not the biggest Channing Tatum fan out there, but I'd be lying if I said he wasn't great in this role. Unlike his other roles where he normally plays either the emotionless wooden character or the moronic jackass, he actually manages to play Mike straight up as a sympathetic figure. Adding in just the right amount of charm, humor and dramatic flair that almost makes you wish that we could see this version of Channing Tatum more often.
The rest of the acting isn't that bad either. Nothing too spectacular to where you could say anyone stands out, but it's decent enough to where it never ruins the film. I was especially impressed with the cinematography of the film, as it really helps capture the promiscuous lifestyle of Mike's life.
However, that's not to say that movie is perfect by any means either. For instance, the love story involving Mike's character seems poorly written, as the chemistry between them feels underwhelming and forced half the time.
Overall though, "Magic Mike" is surprisingly a better movie than most people would like to believe. Sure, if you're a straight single guy watching this film, it might seem awkward wanting to watch a movie about a bunch of male strippers. However, if you're able to look past those aspects about the movie, then you might find yourself entertained by a surprisingly deep story about a man that questions his place in life.
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