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A Man’s Guide to Watching “Magic Mike”

Updated on July 9, 2012
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Relax, Guys, It's Not as Bad as You Think

The movie in theaters right now that is soon to be dominated by women is all about male strippers. Guys, you know you’ve already heard about it from your girlfriend and/or wife or significant other. It’s called Magic Mike and it stars Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey and if you have seen the previews you probably know that there are a lot of scenes with these various muscled men dancing around in almost nothing. This is making the women around the country drool and want to see this movie.

What does that mean for you? Well, unless your significant other is willing to go with a bunch of female friends, this is probably a movie that you are going to have to take her to see. You know you owe it to her, right? Remember when you took her to see that horror movie that you knew she didn’t want to see, but she went with anyway? Remember the Western film that you took her to two Christmases ago? How about the war movie or the action film or the dumb raunchy comedy? You know that the amount of movies that she did not want to see, but went with you anyway, far outweighs the number of movies that she has dragged you to that you did not want to see. You may think that since she dragged you to the last few Twilight movies that you are even, but you’re not.

So, how do you survive? Well, it turns out that Magic Mike is not going to be the miserable experience that you think it will be. This is NOT an all-male cast version of Showgirls. It turns out that there is an actual movie here, and that you will find something here to watch, guys. It isn’t as bleak as you might think.

First, the movie is directed by Steven Soderbergh. That’s the same guy who made himself famous with Sex, Lies and Videotape all of those years ago and then teamed up with George Clooney to start a film company and make movies like Out of Sight and The Girlfriend Experience starring porn star Sasha Grey. In other words, this is a guy who knows how to make movies and make them in a way that turns them, most times, into art rather than just spectacle. He also knows how to tell a story, even with the most minimal of material. Not all of his movies have been a success, but the guy has more successes than failures, and that should ease your mind just a bit that you are not seeing schlock.

Second, Olivia Munn is topless within the first five minutes of the movie. Yes, there are at least two scenes involving attractive females that are nude. And you know Olivia Munn, formerly of Attack of the Show and other things that make her cool in addition to being cute. She is topless, very topless, at the start of the movie and this is worth paying attention. You have to get past a few seconds of Channing Tatum’s bare butt, but hang in there.

Third, there is an actual story. Yes, there are scenes where the muscly men dance, but most of the time they only get down to G-strings. You really don’t see any man-meat hanging around very visibly. There are a couple of scenes where it is implied, but not many. Mostly this is a story of an aging star (Tatum) who finds a young kid that may end up replacing him. In other words, it’s a story you have seen before and should be comfortable with.

Tatum plays the titular Mike who runs a number of businesses and also works with McConaughey, who plays Dallas, the man who runs the club called Xquisite, where the male dancers all do their thing. Yes, Mike is a dancer and a smooth talker who gets young women to attend the shows, but he also has a dream. His dream is to make enough money to start his own custom furniture business.

The story really focuses around that and the young man he recruits to dance with the rest of them. The young man’s real name is Adam and he is played by Alex Pettyfer. The Kid gets thrust on stage and his shyness makes the girls go crazy. Dallas and Mike see that he has potential and they take him under their wing to turn him into a star. Mike is supposed to watch over Adam, at the behest of Adam’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn), but things begin to go out of control, and Mike starts to develop feelings for Brooke.

So, you see, this is a story you have seen before. Most of the movie focuses on Tatum’s character, and he supposedly based much of this story on his time when he was actually a male dancer. His performance is actually very good and he shows he can act in addition to just looking good.

The movie is actually pretty good. Your female friend might actually be a little disappointed that there are not more dancing scenes. However, you can smile and say that you appreciated the story and character development, all the while knowing that you have banked at least one movie that she’ll probably need to make up for you. I mean, there are at least two major superhero movies coming out, and a few new horror films on the way toward the end of the year, right?

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