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06 July 2012 @ 01:45 pm
Film Review: Magic Mike  
If you are a straight woman or a gay man, there is only one reason to see this movie. If you don't fall into those two demographics then you are out of luck.


This movie has been highly anticipated as a sort of male Showgirls. And I really do wish that had been the case. But this is also a film directed by Steven Soderbergh, director of movies like Traffic and Haywire. So for a movie that really should have been about strip routines and more glistening male abs than you can shake a stick at, it dared to have a plot. And a bad plot at that. I went into this movie with big hopes to just indulge every shallow cell in my body with watching ridiculously good looking men dancing and stripping for two hours. Instead, I got about 20 minutes of this and an hour and a half of terrible attempts at acting.

The basic premise is about a man named Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) who spends his day working on construction jobs, detailing cars and working to realize his dream of having a custom furniture business. At night, he works at Xquisite as a male stripper. The movie chronicles him introducing the young Adam (Alex Pettyfer) into the world of male stripping and all its perks and hazards while falling for Adam's older sister, Brooke (Cody Horn).

My biggest gripe with this film is that the acting and dialogue seem largely improvised and shot in what felt like real time. I don't know what's been happening to Soderbergh lately but his last film Haywire also suffered from what felt like too much realism. As in I felt like I was genuinely watching two real stoned people having a real stoned conversation about the mysteries of life, yo. It might be a good idea in theory but in reality, it just made for some seriously dull film footage. The same goes for the purposefully awkward conversations between Mike and Brooke. They seemed like genuinely awkward conversations between Tatum and Horn. Shown in excruciating real time where every second felt like an hour. All of this made it that much more frustrating that I was being forced to listen to boring dialogue instead of watching the promised stripping routines.

There's a moment in the movie when a female character tells Mike, "You don't need to talk." I shallowly have to agree. For all the hype surrounding the male stripping and the actors of this movie discussing the difficult dance routines they had to learn, I was disappointed by how little we actually saw. And no, I don't mean actual body parts (we see plenty of that), I mean the actual routines all the way through. We get a lot of quick shots of the dances but rarely do we see the full number. I get that Soderbergh wanted to tell a more serious story about the pitfalls of the partying male stripping lifestyle. But if that was his true intent, he should have gotten different actors and perhaps written a better script.

Likes:

1. Channing Tatum - I largely recognize that Tatum is not a very good actor. He's not terrible. But he's not that good either. Still, the man can move. It's now a well known fact that he used to be a male stripper before he became an actor and his former career really shows in this movie. There are few things more hilarious/awesome than watching him spinning and writhing all over the dance floor to "It's Raining Men."

2. Matt "Ken Doll" Bomer - Clearly Soderbergh took one look at Bomer and recognized what half of America has seen: his freakishly pretty doll looks. Bomer's character in this movie has the stage name of Ken and actually does a routine where he is, in fact, a man-sized Ken doll that comes to life and strips and grinds for the pleasure of the ladies.

Dislikes:

1. ACTING - I can maybe understand that it would be difficult for Soderbergh to find actors who can look ripped, dance, and act. But dear god. It also gives no excuse for Horn who really could not act. At all.

2. Matthew McConaughey - People are split about him. Some loved how over the top he was in this movie with his thick as molasses accent and shameless wardrobe. I personally wanted to kick him in the groin every time he showed up.

3. It's a Movie About IMPORTANT THINGS - Soderbergh, stop being so serious. Just make a movie about cheesy strip routines. It's okay. We'll still respect you in the morning.

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X-parrotxparrot on July 6th, 2012 05:57 pm (UTC)
...why was a straight man directing this movie at all? That seems...counter-productive. Almost as much as trying to have an actual plot!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 6th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
why was a straight man directing this movie at all? That seems...counter-productive.

Yeah. It was like he didn't get why people would watch this movie.
bluebeeangel: wrathbluebeeangel on July 6th, 2012 06:21 pm (UTC)
Matt Bomer's in this? Oh crap, I might actually have to watch it.
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 6th, 2012 06:27 pm (UTC)
He's not in it that much. He has maybe one scene of actual dialogue and two minutes worth of stripping.
bluebeeangel: learningbluebeeangel on July 7th, 2012 12:18 am (UTC)
See, you almost lost me with 'only one scenee of actual dialogue', but pulled me right back in with 'two minutes worth of stripping.' :D
quickyfant: amused/confusedquickyfant on July 6th, 2012 06:58 pm (UTC)
I saw the trailers and was relatively tempted...but not for the plot and now I am confirmed in what my mind was telling me, it sounds bad! :S :S :S
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 6th, 2012 07:21 pm (UTC)
If you've seen the trailer, you've likely seen the best parts of this movie. Although I will say the full "It's Raining Men" number is pretty great to watch.
The Writer They Call Tay: BB: Oh No!awanderingbard on July 6th, 2012 07:14 pm (UTC)
I haven't seen this and I probably won't, despite my love of looking at Channing Tatum and Matt Bomer. But I saw Haywire a couple of weeks ago and if this movie takes the same approach that sort of seals the deal. I still don't entirely know what Haywire is about. I understand it suffered from development hell thing, but God! Maybe they should have taken the hint and left it unreleased. I swear half that movie is a woman walking calmly around Dublin. I liked the fight scenes, but that was about it.

I really dislike it when movies take themselves too seriously. Sometimes it's perfectly okay to be a movie about hot guys getting naked.
formerly lifeinsomniac: HorriblyWrongjoonscribble on July 6th, 2012 07:20 pm (UTC)
Haywire is for MMA fighting what Magic Mike is for stripping. Basically you get truncated scenes of fighting/stripping sandwiched in between long scenes of not much else happening.

Magic Mike, I feel, would have been vastly improved if it had been made by a director who can handle lighter films. Soderbergh can't seem to break out of serious mode no matter what.