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Magic Mike has no magic

Magic Mike Promo
Warner Bros.

Magic Mike movie review


Touted with quick shots of bulging biceps, ripped abs, broad torsos and even smooth bare backsides the main elements rolled into one big reason why audiences are excited to see the new movie Magic Mike, to have their visual appetite satisfied with some eye candy! Loosely based (supposedly) on the real life early stripping days of Channing Tatum, Magic Mike features Tatum as the front man Mike of a Chippendalesish troupe – hence the name Magic Mike. Unfortunately for the excited movie goers, Magic Mike is anything but magical!

It’s not that it wasn’t nice to see sweaty pulsating bodies on screen but apparently expecting some sort of decent plot in combination with the flesh was expecting a bit too much. Shame on me! The two separate paltry plots that Magic Mike did muster burned out like a bad cigar. First we see Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who’s the typical lost man boy that sits at home and plays video games all day. With the help of Mike, Adam stumbles (literally) onto the stage and into the stripping career subsequently. Though Mike takes Adam under his wing as a big brother figure, it is Mike who appears to have the sense and smarts to know that a stripper’s career is generally a young person’s game and a short lived game at that. Therefore Mike is saving his many ones and tens to pursue his real passion of launching a furniture business.

This is where Magic Mike had a chance, albeit a slim one, to become one of the sexiest movies of the summer but even perhaps one of the best feel good movies. Instead of letting Mike succeed with his non-dancing interest, we see him fail miserably due to idiotic decisions. Sure, watching Mike overcome his obstacles and triumph would have been a conventional narrative but at least it would’ve been a crowd pleaser.

Of course the one item that could have made Magic Mike a bit more bearable was seeing the smooth and hip moves of Channing Tatum. Alas, just like Madonna’s recent public flashing of her breast, Tatum’s dancing wasn’t anything that we hadn’t already seen before. As a matter of fact I am certain that you’ll be more satisfied be re-renting one of Tatum’s Step Up movies if good dancing is what you’re looking for. Even the casting of other hotties Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and the always dependable for nice shirtless scenes Matthew McConaughey did not captivate like one would have expected. Whereas the strip tease routines were meticulously choreographed it didn’t hide the fact that some of these guys were NOT real dancers per se and would not have made it passed the first round of auditions for a real life male strip troupe of the caliber that the film portrayed. This mostly goes for the newbie guy of the ensemble, Adam.

Now to be fair, a Shakespearean caliber actor was obviously not required to do this film yet I expected something a bit better than that other subpar stripper movie – Striptease…and Magic Mike was not! While Matthew McConaughey delivered his usual Texas twang standard, he at least didn’t disappoint. Both Cody Horn (Brooke) and Alex Pettyfer seem to have the acting chops akin to a bad Keanu Reeves and how they were cast has got to be the new $35, 000 question. The only way to make sense of the acting in MM is that Soderbergh didn’t set his expectations to high …and it showed. Even the terrible Showgirls had and did become somewhat of guilty pleasure and cult favorite yet Magic Mike just has the potential to become completely forgettable. And for the newcomers in this movie – that’ll be a blessing in disguise for them.

Though it’s 2012, the objectification of the male physique still doesn’t come close to how the female body is on screen. Unofficially Magic Mike was supposed to fulfill that need and give straight ladies something to fawn over for a change yet I don’t think women will be recommending this to their girlfriends to see if for some reason they didn’t go with them to the movies to see it the first time. It should come as no surprise that the film would also appeal to gay men yet it appears that this was the case with Magic Mike film execs. Just before the film’s release, it was promoted at Gay Pride events across the country. Straight women and/or gay men, it doesn’t matter- Magic Mike will not satisfy!

It wouldn’t be true to say that Magic Mike is the worst movie of the year - we’re only half way through it. Either way Magic Mike will be a Razzies darling when nominations are announced for 2012 movies. It’s hard to believe that this movie was directed by Academy Award winner Steven Soderbergh. How do you go from the brilliance of Crash to the bleak Magic Mike is beyond me. I supposed that like great actors, even directors are entitled to a few stinkers here and there.


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