Cert: 15 Runtime: 110 mins Director: Steve Soderbergh Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn and Joe Manganeillo
You are the husband they never had! You are that dreamboat guy that never came along!
So yeah being that movie guy I do have to watch all sorts of things, male strippers was a big threshold for my own sanity but I do it for my readers. Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper by night and wannabe entrepreneur by day. While at a roofing gig, he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and they instantly hit it off. Mike introduces Adam is his night life, of stripping and Adam soon finds himself thrust into the wild and wacky world of male stripping. Adam’s sister isn’t to keen on the idea and makes Mike promise that he will take care of her brother, but the money, girls and drugs soon becomes too much of a temptation for Adam to resist.Inspired by Channing Tatum’s early life as a real male stripper, Magic Mike is an odd bag. It aims to please the female audience and yet it has a director that male audiences respond to. Steven Soderbergh is behind the lens and he gives the film a visual flare that is more or less his signature style. The film is not all about the loud, crude and overly sexual sequences involving the young (and not so young) men dancing up a storm on stage, it tries to dig deeper into the lives of these boys with Tatum as the lead anchor.
There are two big problems Magic Mike faces, the first is the running time, which is atrociously long. Running ten minutes shy of two hours, the film drags and drags in a lot of scenes that do not involve losing clothing. The reason is that the story, or lack there of, is boring. We follow two characters, Mike and Adam, a master and protégé type relationship. Tatum has never been known for his acting skills and here it is no different. He awkwardly spews out his lines and looks uncomfortable doing anything off the stage. On the stage is a different story, as his dance moves (have you seen Step-Up?) take front and centre stage. He has talent and his real life experience is clearly evident here. He was the best stripper of the bunch. Adam, played by I Am Number Four’s Alex Pettyfer is a boring character that has no likability factor. Mark Walhberg’s Dirk Diggler in Boogie Nights was the fish out of water character that fell from grace and he did it with a schoolboy charm. Alex portrays the character as cold and unlikable. With two lead characters that aren’t very good, it seems that the rest of the strippers have to pick up the slack.
Matthew McConaughey is the club owner, Dallas, who dreams of bigger and better things in Miami. He gets his chance to shine at the end and of course, spends 90% of the film with no shirt on. No stretch for him there. There is a bit of a subplot involving him and Tatum in which McConaughey more or less screws him over. It’s only slightly touched upon and never drives the film. The other male strippers, involving a CSI agent, a former wrestler and a werewolf, have absolutely nothing to do in this film aside from being strippers. We get a sense that Tarzan (Kevin Nash) is too old to be doing this, but the film never bothers to do anything with his character. He seems odd and out of place. They each get their own strip scenes, mostly done in montages, but nothing more. The stripping/dancing scenes are the most interesting aspects of the film and I fond myself bored with everything else. It tries to be more than a stripper movie, but it fails at it. It’s not fun, it’s not dramatic it’s stuck in the middle and it seems to be an autopilot a lot of the time. I think if the film had taken more chances and tried to be darker, it could have been somewhere along the lines of Boogie Nights for the stripper industry. Instead it has to settle for a film that women in their 50’s rush to go see so they can see some man butt. It’s a shame because Soderbergh is such a talent, that it seems wasted here.