A Completely Unnecessary and Gratuitous Review of Magic Mike

Disclaimer: I am a very shallow movie goer. I like simply to be entertained. I tend not to see serious, artistic, Academy-award winning films. I like action movies and comedies primarily, or any mix of the two. Oh, and I’ve seen my fair share of animated flicks, too, because of the kids. Next on my to-view list is Brave.

All that said, I found Magic Mike to be very entertaining. Channing Tatum in the titular role was a real charmer, and he has an amazing body. All the male strippers are, not surprisingly, very, very fun to watch. I would have liked to see a little more of Matt Bomer. I know he plays for the other team, but a girl can dream. And Matthew McConaughey was fantastic as the egomaniacal club owner Dallas.

My main criticism of the movie is that instead of leaving well enough alone, the creators of Magic Mike tried to give the movie weight with too many plot lines. They would have done so much better to have simply made the movie about Magic Mike and his arc (so to speak), rather than **SPOILER ALERT** (skip to the next paragraph) throwing in a business relationship gone sour, and drug deals gone bad.

It’s a summer movie, guys. Give us the eye candy.

I also want to commend Magic Mike for not shying away from nuances of female sexuality. Magic Mike is not a romance, it’s not a chick flick (I mean, obviously a lot more women than men are going to see it), if anything, it casts Mike as the one looking for “true love”. In that spirit, I loved Cody Horn’s character Brooke. The scene where she sees Mike (and her little brother Adam, played by Alex Pettyfer) perform is just brilliant — she’s shown in close-up while first Adam, then Mike, do their thing.

Here’s how I read that scene: Brooke is conflicted by her own reaction to what’s going on, especially when Mike takes the stage. First, she’s dealing with the fact that her little brother — a ne’er do well character in general — has gotten into stripping. Second, she’s in a crowd of screaming women who are very much enjoying the show. Third, she’s been charmed by Mike, but now she’s witnessing his lifestyle, and she really doesn’t know what to think of him. Lastly, she’s attracted to him, sexually and viscerally. Any straight woman with a pulse is going to react to Mike (and probably a lot of gay men, too). And I don’t think she wants to because of her ambivalence about the scene.

And that’s what I mean about the nuance of female sexuality. The other main female character is played by Olivia Munn, who is pretty much Mike’s booty call. Or maybe he’s hers. But an ultimate revelation about her character, Joanne, starts Mike down the path to his epiphany. In short, it’s clear from what happens between Joanne and Mike, and what happens in the strip club in general, that women are just as able and willing to sexually objectify men. And I’m not making any kind of judgement on that, whether it’s right or wrong. After all, I didn’t go to the movie to see the plot.

All-in-all, I think Magic Mike was worth the price of admission — if you go to a matinee. I’ve obviously thought too much about it because I brought a critique of it to light, but I really enjoyed it despite its faults. It’s got a lot of laughs, and there’s an easy chemistry between Mike and Brooke. It’s not just waxed chests and assless chaps — and maybe it should’ve been.

If nothing else, rent it when it comes out on DVD. After you watch it in its entirely, you can skip to the good scenes.

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