MOVIE REVIEW by: Jenny Aluning
MAGIC MIKE (R)
Director: Steve Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Joe Mangianello, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn
Oh, c’mon! What other excuse did I need to go and watch ‘Magic Mike’?!’ It’s Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello aaannddd Matthew McConaughey half-naked though most of the movie!! For me, and the mostly female audience who watched with me, we needed no other reason than that! But, surprisingly, ‘Magic Mike’ turned out to have a lot of depth and a lot of heart.
Directed by Steven Soderbergh, ‘Magic Mike’ has long been rumoured to be based on Channing Tatum’s (who also produced the film) early history as a stripper. To the delight of many a female (including this one), the film did not shy away from showing exactly what a stripper does – on stage or off! There was a feast of jaw-dropping, eye-popping, OMG!, heart palpitations-inducing, “I have to fan myself!”, moments which turned us into a pretty raucous crowd! And that’s without alcohol! But for all that male yumminess on screen, the film also did not shy away from showing the destructive side of that life of easy money and easy women.
The film revolves around Tatum’s character, Magic Mike. A male stripper/entrepreneur with a dream to build custom furniture and a life most men would kill for…or so he thought. It is when he befriends 19-year old, Adam (Pettyfer) and brings him into his world that he begins to see the cracks in his fairytale life.
To me, Channing Tatum was a revelation in this movie. He played Mike with such ease, charm and confidence, clearly a man who knew he could have any woman he wants, and then playing those moments when his character realizes the flaws in his life with such heartbreaking simplicity that I couldn’t help but sympathize with him. Two moments illustrated this so clearly for me. One was his halting and almost confused attempt at explaining to Brooke, Adam’s sister (played by Cody Horn. I loved her banter and chemistry with Tatum! It was so much fun!) that he was more than his job – it was as if he was trying to convince himself as much as her. And two, was when he was listening to Adam happily thank him for his life, completely oblivious to his downward spiral – he had been lying in a pool of his own vomit a few days earlier! Tatum’s Mike wore a pained smile and a look in his eyes that spoke of his regret that he had brought his friend to this. Tatum proved that he could bring more to the movie than just his amazing bod and killer dance moves.
A fantastic supporting cast also added to ‘Magic Mike’s’ more-than-a-stripper movie quality. I had already praised Cody Horn’s chemistry with Tatum but I was impressed by her cool-as-a-cucumber portrayal of a woman less than impressed with stripper Mike but who was intrigued with man she saw glimpses of underneath. Also impressive was Matthew McConaughey. He plays Dallas, the owner of Xquisite Male Dance Revue, the club where Mike works. Absolutely brilliant in the role, McConaughey’s Dallas was egotistical, narcissistic – a man who absolutely relished his time on stage and the female adoration it brings him. At first, he seemed a genuine leader/coach to his dancers. But as the movie progresses, one begins to see that his interests lie only with himself and at those times, McConaughey was as quietly menacing as a snake waiting to strike. It was mesmerizing to watch.
So, should you see ‘Magic Mike’? Hell, yeah!! Because it’s more than just about those prime examples of the male physique (*sigh*)…it’s about one’s identity. How DO you hang on to yours when all everyone knows about you is what they see on the outside? Do you ever really leave the stage? An intriguing question indeed.
Photo source: ComingSoon