PLOT: Mike (Channing Tatum) is an entrepreneur. A man of many talents and loads of charm, he spends his days pursuing the American Dream from as many angles as he can handle: from roofing houses and detailing cars to designing furniture from his Tampa beach condo. But at night he's just magic. The hot headliner in an all-male revue, Magic Mike has been rocking the stage at Club Xquisite for years with his original style and over-the-top dance moves. The more the ladies love him, the more they spend, and the happier that makes club owner Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Seeing potential in a guy he calls the Kid (Alex Pettyfer), Mike takes the 19-year-old under his wing and schools him in the fine arts of dancing, partying, picking up women and making easy money. It's not long before the club's newest act has fans of his own, as the summer opens up to a world of fun, friendship and good times.
REVIEW: MAGIC MIKE is not my kind of movie. And I’m not just saying that because of the copious amounts of banana hammocks and pelvic thrusting. That, oddly enough, I can deal with. You see, AngieBee and I have this little movie rule: If she’ll endure gruesome slashers and non-stop action epics then I’ll endure sappy rom-coms and sweeping love stories. And that rule sometimes can be amended to include other genres …like stripper movies. If she’ll deal with Elizabeth Berkley and Gina Gershon grinding naked on each other in SHOWGIRLS then I’ll tolerate Channing Tatum shaking his junk at me for an hour and a half. Quid pro quo.
The real reason MAGIC MIKE didn’t appeal to me, didn’t connect with me, and why I begged AngieBee and AlannaLynn to write this review instead of me was because it was in no way what it was promoted to be. I thought this was supposed to be the cinematic equivalent of a Chippendales show. I expected a 50% male strippers stripping, 50% behind-the-scenes drama ratio. That’s what director Steven Soderbergh and Tatum promised, that’s what the flashy trailers promised, and that’s what basically EVERYTHING used to promote this flick promised.
But that’s not what’s here. What’s here is kind of boring. Oh sure, the strip sequences (McConaughey, Pettyfer, Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash, and Adam Rodriguez are 100% fearless during these moments which is way outside the norm for the genre) and occasional juicy bit of insider info (I thought it was funny that Mike had to “fish” for hot young girls to come to the show) keep the flick from being a total wash but they only comprise about 25% of the runtime. The remaining 75% is a dull romance, a dull riff on A STAR IS BORN, and a dull(ish) story about a guy wanting to quit the male stripper business and make furniture out of stuff he finds washed up on the beach.
Not exactly exciting stuff, let me assure you. The main reason none of it worked for me is because the performances are so flat during these bits. Be sure to note I’m not saying the performances are flat during the strip club sequences. Anytime MAGIC MIKE is in the club, the performances and the movie as a whole works.
It’s whenever Tatum is outside the club that the movie grinds to a halt against the iron jaw of Cody Horn (daughter of Alan Horn, current head of Disney and former COO of Warner Bros) and sharp features of Alex Pettyfer (I’m not sure what happened between this and I AM NUMBER FOUR but Pettyfer’s acting abilities appear to have been reduced to glowering and hiding under his hoodie). Why Soderbergh opted to saddle so much of this flick on Horn and Tatum’s non-chemistry and an actor clearly not connecting with the material (Pettyfer and Tatum were reportedly at each other’s throats during shooting) is beyond me.
But, as I mentioned at the front of this review, this is not my kind of movie. Even with another solid performance from Tatum (who’s definitely on a roll this year with this, 21 JUMP STREET, and THE VOW), some fun interplay between the strippers, and that brief moment where Olivia Munn dropped her top, MAGIC MIKE was never going to be my kind of movie. Take that as you will.