I Saw A Film Today… Magic Mike

I don’t really understand the American male’s over-the-top machoism in regards to the connect between two straight men. For some reason if you complement a guy or show any form of admiration for another male and you get called gay or some other colorful homophobic title. Why? Is it really so weird for guys to have “bromances”? Take when I told people I was interested in seeing Magic Mike. More than once someone would ask if I was a “queer boy”. No, but it doesn’t change the fact I’m interested in seeing the latest from Steven Soderbergh, which just happens to be about male strippers. Besides, didn’t you just come out of a film about a talking teddy bear, princess?

Mike (Channing Tatum) is a busy guy. During the day he works on a construction site and runs some kind of mobile service as well as other side businesses. But at night he transforms into Magic Mike, a stripper for a club named Xquisite, run by snake-skin wearing Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). He does all these job because he dreams of making custom furniture one day, but first he must make enough start-up cash.

In comes Adam (Alex Pettyfur) who has made a career slubbing from one job to the next. After meeting Mike at a construction site, Mike sees something in him and brings him Xquisite, where he works the props department and meets Ken (Matt Bomer), Big Dick Ritchie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), and Tito (Adam Rodriguez). When Tarzan isn’t able to perform later in the night, Mike literally throws Adam out into the spotlight and earns the nickname of “The Kid” and a spot on the team.

Life seems good for the group of strippers and only seem to be getting better when Dallas announces that Xquisite is now moving from Tampa to Miami, where the money is more abundant and the party scene is heavier. But the more Adam’s life begins to get out of control after a botched drug deal with the club’s DJ Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias), the more Mike’s plans begin to be slipping through his fingers.

Steven Soderbergh has been a busy boy since last September. He has released three films including this one since then, the other two being Contagion and Haywire. This is quite a daunting task for any director but somehow Soderbergh pulls it off. I found both of the previously mentioned films enjoyable and Mike is no exception. While it may not be his story-telling, it is classic Soderbergh. It’s has his signature dry humor but also a slightly sinister side to it as well. Like a joke could take place only moments before a bottle is buried deep into the back of someone’s skull.

Unfortunately (I find it a bit sad I have to include this) most people who come to see this film are not really coming for the story. My observation from working at the theater is that the main demographic for this film has been, for lack of a better word, horny cougars. They’re not coming for the film, they’re coming for stripping. And while there is an abundance of it, this isn’t the main focus of the film. In fact, there is more female nudity than male in Magic Mike. If you come purely for the male dancing instead of the film, you’d be better suited going to an actual club.

Most of the film’s action focuses on the exploits of Mike and Adam, meaning most of the time the camera is on Tatum and Pettyfur. Thankfully my good will for Mr. Tatum from his hilarious performance in 21 Jump Street is still strong and I found him fantastic in this role. Then again, his own experience as a stripper when he was younger may of minimally helped with his performance. Alex Pettyfur has made some vast improvements since the last time I saw him in the Twilight-esque I Am Number Four. He has depth and charisma, something he wasn’t afforded in Number Four. I also found Matthew McConaughey’s performance to be quite entertaining, something I have not been able to say in recent years. And, he finally found a film where he has a reason not to wear a shirt the whole time.

Magic Mike is a comedy that on the outside looks like something exclusively for the ladies but may actually be more for the fellas. Who knows.

Verdict: SEE IT!

*Rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language, and drug use.

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