Thursday, July 12, 2012

Movie Review: Magic Mike (2012)

I cried giant woman tears of happiness when I watched Magic Mike. Steve Sodebergh of Ocean’s Eleven fame directed this tale of male strippers, friendship, and lives filled with money, sex, drugs, and booze. Channing Tatum’s portrayal of the title character, Mike, holds the movie together. The script is also good, although the story needed tighter pacing. There was a point when I got bored. That is just plain wrong, when muscular hotties dance every ten minutes.

Speaking of dancing, two numbers stand out – the group dance to “It’s Raining Men,” and Magic Mike’s solo. Ho. Ly. Lord. That solo. Tatum slithers and arches across the floor like all my dreams come true, his hard body at once flexible and supple, grinding manfully and gliding deliciously and—excuse me while I take a break from writing to calm down. Deep breaths. Deep breaths. That’s it.

There’s more to Magic Mike than vicariously fulfilling our naughty fantasies, though. The movie is set in Tampa, where Mike does roof tiling and window detailing on the side, to save up enough money to start his own custom furniture business. Matthew McConaughey’s character sees him as the top act of the Xquisite Male Revue, and has promised him a cut of the profits when they move their act to Miami. Mike seems to be set until he helps out Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a 19-year-old living with his sister. This lost soul becomes known as “The Kid” in the revue, and his rising star, not to mention his sister, complicate Mike’s life.

The script gets uneven in the middle of the movie. It starts out light and raunchy, with McConaughey in tight leather pants and a vest, his rippling abs and smiling banter drawing in the audience (swoon). We laugh as Magic Mike shoves the inexperienced Adam out onto the stage, and double over at McConaughey’s ridiculous gym outfit when he teaches The Kid how to strip-dance. We smile as Adam earnestly tells Mike: “We should be best friends.” And then he goes deeper into the stripper lifestyle and bam! instant dark drama, just add drugs! Viewers watch Adam spiral deeper into the pit he never sees, and at that point, everyone on screen becomes annoying and dumb. Fortunately, the smart ending comes in to save the day.

The gals in my group commented that the only sore point in the movie was Cody Horn, who plays Pettyfer’s sister. She does have bone structure that makes her seem to be simultaneously pouting and jutting out her jaw, so I guess that hampered her acting? She seemed okay to me. I really liked her tête-à-tête with Tatum—they had the best funny lines in the script. The best dark lines go to McConaughey and Pettyfer, who are both excellent.