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Magic Mike Review
By Darrin Jones / June 29

Ingredients: If you liked the ironic cult status of Showgirls, the likable characters of The Full Monty, and melodrama of Saturday Night Fever, then you will like this movie.

So first things first, Magic Mike is really about male strippers, no joke. Magic Mike is also not a romantic comedy, or any comedy. In fact, it’s actually a far more serious drama then the trailers would lead you to believe. Magic Mike (as played by Channing Tatum) is a male stripper with dreams of making designer furniture. He comes across a wayward 19 year-old named Adam (Alex Pettyfer). Magic Mike introduces the young man to the whirlwind lifestyle of women and money that stripping provides and “The Kid,” as he comes to be called, quickly becomes the clubs top performer. But the lifestyle becomes too much for Adam and he starts to get in over his head. Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), makes Magic Mike promise to keep her brother from getting hurt but Mike loses himself in his own problems. When Adam finally screws up big time, it’s up to Mike to bail him out of trouble and time for Mike to decide where he really wants his life to go.

For anyone wanting to see Magic Mike for the obvious reasons -- you know, the male strippers -- the flick has plenty of T&A for you. The ‘A’ mostly belonging to Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer and the ‘T’ surprisingly from Olivia Munn. Yeah, Olivia Munn is briefly topless in this, go figure. But you might be surprised to find that Magic Mike is actually a pretty good movie. Had I been a fan of the male posterior, it might’ve even been an enjoyable one. Now I’m not saying Magic Mike is going to be entertaining for everyone, again it’s full of naked dudes, but in terms of film making it is unmistakably a well made film. See, my golden rule for judging whether a movie has potential or not boils down to this: don’t look at the actors or plot, look at the director. And Magic Mike’s director, Steven Sodebergh, has some pretty heavy titles under his belt. He’s a man that knows how to use good characters and great cinematography. It’s no surprise the movie has one of the best things a film can possibly have going for it: pacing. Magic Mike starts off as fun and quirky but slowly gets darker and more somber. As the characters realize that their lives are not as glamorous as they’d hoped, so does the audience. The movie does not glorify male stripping in any way and it’s kind of unsettling how well Sodebergh pulls off the eerie feeling that you are watching grown men demeaning themselves for money. (A subtle jab at the actors in the film? I’ll let you decide.) But in all seriousness, the stripping is only a part of the movie. The real focus is on the friendship between Mike and Adam, and the growing relationship between Mike and Brooke.

Unfortunately, what might put-off some moviegoers more then male stripping might be that the movie also features a lot of Matthew McConaughey. To say that I am not a fan of Matthew McConaughey would be an understatement. Personally, I find the man to be a cheesy, obnoxious, Southern, douchebag but fortunately that’s exactly the character he plays as the strip club's manager, Dallas. I have to say, McConaughey is at his best when he plays a total asshole and his role as Dallas is the best performance he’s given since turning 40. In all, if you like seeing the male body in all of its nude, breakdancing glory coupled with a compelling story, then I would recommend Magic Mike for you. Me on the other hand, I think I’ll stick to watching something manly that doesn’t involve half-naked men prancing about. I wonder if there’s any wrestling matches on tv right now?

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