"Magic Mike," more than just a party?


From previews, this movie seems to be one big stripper party, but when you sit down and watch the movie expecting to be inundated with naked men you aren’t. We follow Channing Tatum’s Mike through the summer where he is a stripper, construction worker, and owner of many more businesses as he tries to make something better for himself. We find Mike as he meets Alex Pettyfer’s Adam “The Kid” and quickly introduces him to the world of stripping, partying, women, and drugs.

Partially based on Channing Tatum’s adventures in Florida before going into modeling and acting, I expected a silly hour and a half of naked men prancing about. I was surprised by the story behind this movie. Not only did we see attractive men stripping out of their clothes, but we also saw Mike’s conflict between wanting to be taken seriously and wanting to have fun. Much of this conflict arises around the seedy club owner, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), who promises to give Mike a better cut of the profits at the strip club and Brooke (Cody Horn), the sister of The Kid who refuses to be around the club lifestyle.

Along with a story to keep this movie on its legs, we are also met with some good performances by the leading performers. Alex Pettyfer has developed a strong American accent (as he is originally British) and his Schwarzenegger impression wasn’t half bad either. As he starts to go down the tunnel, getting sucked into the lifestyle, I lost touch with his character. That isn’t to say anything against Pettyfer’s performance, but about the way his character’s progression was written. Channing Tatum was easily likable with his friendly, no-worries smile added to everything he did. Dallas, the seedy Texan, was a role made perfectly for McConaughey. It seemed like he didn’t have to do anything to create this character, except maybe shave.

Finally, the stripping seems to be an important thing to discuss about this movie. The insight into this male stripping lifestyle was interesting and something I will probably never see again as few people would be willing to wear barely more than a thong for a few months of filming. Everybody seemed well choreographed in the dance routines, but not totally in sync with each other. I’m not sure if that was supposed to happen or not, but it seemed accurate. With no full frontal nudity (by men or women) in this movie, there are many disappointed fans wishing they had got to see Joe Manganiello bare it all, and I am surprised there was not more nudity. For a movie about strippers I hadn’t expected it to be so tame.

Even after three weeks the auditorium playing this movie was still packed full, and the giggles that emanated from everybody whenever even the simplest of things occurred was possibly the best part — knowing that everybody else had the exact same reaction you did to certain moments definitely made for a more enjoyable experience. I would suggest watching this movie in theatre with a big group rather than waiting for it on DVD because really, isn’t seeing it on the BIG screen a good thing?

Magic Mike is rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity (no full frontal), lots of language, and some drug use (ecstasy).

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