Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Magic Mike


Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes
Rating: R (and rightfully so)

I’ll tell you the first thing I did when I got home from seeing “Magic Mike.” …Write my notes for this blog post, of course! I will shamelessly admit that I loved this movie. For those of you who aren't familiar (or rather, for those of you living under a rock), a film loosely based on Channing Tatum’s stripper past is sweeping the nation, and women off their seats. I heard more screaming, cheering and “God Almighty”-like phrases in the first five minutes of the film than I’ve heard in a long time. (Not to mention Channing Tatum’s bare booty.) For those of you thinking this movie is just an excuse for women to yell at sweaty, half-naked, gyrating men for 2 hours, you’re kind of right. But this was directed by Soderbergh (of “Traffic” fame) and truly shows a depth in Tatum’s acting skills that I hadn’t seen until now. Mike is so endearing, that he makes the hour where dancing isn’t involved actually worth it.

Photo Courtesy Claudette Barius/Warner Brothers Entertainment
Watching “Magic Mike” was like reading an issue of Cosmopolitan. It was like going to a bachelorette party. These men tap into every traditional female fantasy – policemen, construction workers, doctors, firemen. Granted it was odd seeing this movie alone, I felt myself blush a few times. In daylight hours, we get to know Mike: an “entrepreneur” with a big heart, and possibly too-big goals. He befriends lost Alex, and becomes a big brother figure to him. After showcasing him at the male revue “Xquisite” where Mike rules the stage, Alex becomes known as “The Kid,” and the fantasy of every girl in Tampa.

Photo Courtesy of Entertainment Weekly
Alex Pettyfer embodies Adam perfectly. He is adorable, but could obviously care less about his future. Pettyfer proves he has the acting chops, and I think he might soon garner the rep that Andrew Garfield has. (Unfortunately, his public life is a field day for tabloids – he’s one of those guys I love on-screen, but seems to be an arse in real life, ie. Christian Bale and Alec Baldwin). Adam’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn) is his caretaker until Mike comes into the picture. Brooke and Mike have an “attraction” that I just didn’t get. She was too serious, and her jawline was stronger than Tatum’s. Olivia Munn makes an appreciated appearance as Joanna, Mike’s booty call, for whom his strong feelings are not reciprocated. Moments like these make us empathize with him.

I think I’m the only woman in the world who is unaffected by Matthew McConaughey’s Southern drawl and ripped bod. He obviously had fun in this role, but was a bit too over-the-top for me. However, the scene where he teaches Adam how to make love to the crowd will stick with me. McConaughey knows how to work the camera.

Alex’s dalliance in the after-hours club scene sends him on a path of self-destruction, and the ending leaves us wanting more closure and follow-up with him. We also hope that in the end, Mike will ultimately find his true happiness and fulfillment. Though the storyline wasn’t all that necessary (I could have just watched Channing dance all night – maybe I will pop “Step Up” into my DVD player…) it was nice to see Mike as a person. Tatum’s range is incredible here.

To the one man sitting in the audience: I hope the reaction from the females in the room didn’t terrify you; it was kind of nice to let our hair down. I don’t know if I’ll ever step foot inside a dance club like Xquisite, but I know one thing: I’ll never listen to “Pony” by Genuine the same way again.


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