Another word for “magic”, according to Thesaurus.com is “magnetism”. “Magnetism” would be an apropos adjective to describe the opening night viewing of Steven Soderbergh‘s “Magic Mike”, which attracted plenty of people to the theater, particularly young women. If you’ve seen the trailers, you know that this is a movie about hot men who strip. While that’s fine and dandy for the lot of us, you’re probably curious as to whether or not this film might be a meal in disguise or just what it appears to be: a plate of candy.
First off, I’m just going to say right out of the gate that if you’re a fan of Matthew McConaughey, then you should see this movie, especially if you want to see him nearly naked. I assumed he was featured so prominently in the trailer as a device that studios so often use to entice us. They make you believe that an A-list actor has more screen time than he/she truly does, and you end up spending your hard-earned dollars on a ticket to see said actor who’s in the film for one or two scenes, tops. That is not the case here.
Unsurprisingly, the plot is typical. Mike is a roofer by day and “Magic Mike” by night. He dances at a local strip club so that he can save up for the bigger and better. His most cherished dream is that of owning a customized furniture business. It’s basically Flashdance for men.
Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is brought on to Mike’s day-job as a roofer who doesn’t know much of anything. He’s supposed to be 19 years old, but he looks like he’s 27. Mike takes him under his wing and soon Adam is seduced by the nightlife. He is inundated with girls, drugs and money and comes to realize that there is an ugly side to all of that wealth – pretty standard stuff really.
I’m not sure if it was how Adam was meant to be played or if it was Pettyfer’s style, but Adam seemed dead behind the eyes. Even at his most animated, he did not enthrall me. He seemed rather immobile in a film where it’s necessary to move. That is to say that I couldn’t tell if the character was nonchalant, or if Pettyfer was just a boring actor.
The dialogue in this film is very casual, which is to say that it’s obviously not Oscar-worthy. Conversation is less brainy here in an attempt to appeal to the younger crowd (i.e. the teenage girls who flock in droves to the film, then challenge each other to ask every girl in the lobby if they’re there to see “Magic Mike”.) One quality I found endearing about this film was that there was an equal comedy to flesh ratio. And when the flesh did hit the screen, you felt like you were right there in the strip club, music booming in your ears and dancers gyrating on your face.
Matt Bomer from television’s White Collar was a sexy stage presence, and the convincing argument for my attendance, but he was given barely any lines. His presence was more akin to window dressing than any real substance. I was surprised to see comedian Gabriel Iglesias (“I’m not fat, I’m fluffy!”) in this film, particularly since he did not have a humorous role. He no longer appears to be as “fluffy” as he once was, which was nice to see.
Olivia Munn was enjoyable enough for the bit part that she played, although in one scene I couldn’t tear my eyes away from her shoulder. Let’s just say that make-up did not cover up her acne scars. Some scenes that were shot outdoors were obviously not re-shot, as light was continuously reflecting off of the camera lens. This took me out of the movie and made me realize I was watching one. Although, due to the overcrowded theater and my seat at the front of said congregation, I was better able to notice the details that appeal to the inner cattiness that we all possess but hesitate to admit.
“Magic Mike” seemed to cater more to the Tatum and McConaughey fans yet, despite my aversion to Tatum simply because he looks like someone I know and don’t like, I found myself eagerly anticipating his next scene. It wasn’t because he was sexy, although many in the crowd would disagree, but boy, that man can move. It has been said in numerous interviews that “Magic Mike” is based loosely on Tatum’s past life as a stripper. That is easy to believe when he can dance like he does, making it look so easy. It’s as if there is not one muscle in his body that hasn’t been elasticized for maximum efficiency.
I was surprised at the number of scenes in this film that involved naked breasts. The studio did know its demographic here, right? They must have slipped those in to placate the poor straight males in the audience who might have found themselves somehow dragged to this film despite multiple protests. We see Munn’s breasts within the first five minutes of the film. This would be less surprising in a film that would draw more than ten men to each viewing.
However, despite the boobies, it was refreshing to see a film that finally appealed to a woman’s sexuality without including the meat head entertainment that films like Fast and Furious bring to the table. Here, there was all of the beef and barely any brawn. It was nice to, for once, be recognized as a demographic all our own. “Magic Mike” celebrates a woman’s desire to just go out and have a good time. Not every film has to be A Beautiful Mind.