The upbeat trailer with quippy banter, cute gags and promises of washboard abs & tight tushies is very misleading. And the IMDb plot summary makes me want to hurl: "A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money." "Magic Mike" is a great movie but for different reasons and for a different audience than the trailer may attract. It's not a fun & wild romp nor is it a quirky romcom with a lot of chuckles. It's a complex drama that focuses on success vs. the illusion of success. It could've been set on Wall Street. It could've been set in a law firm. It could've been set in any one of the paragons of success that we envision when we hear that word. Instead it's set in a male nudie bar with tons of hormone-raging women waving, hurling and stuffing $1 bills into mens' thong underwear.
Soderbergh crafts a powerful but almost self-defeating film that I doubt will be a huge popularity winner due to its unconventional story. (Sidenote: why is it that filmmakers can make critically-acclaimed masterpieces about female strippers/prostitutes, like "Leaving Las Vegas", but if the g-string is on the other gender it's just goofy fun?) Due to its deceptive marketing, "Magic Mike" is passed off as crowd-pleasing entertainment, but it's really a very sobering look at life with more introspective moments than laughs.
Channing Tatum plays Mike, a guy with the bod of a Greek god, probably not very educated but with a very smart, creative ambition: to build artistic furniture. Somehow, instead, he ends up thrusting his pelvis on stage for screaming ladies. Enter Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a 19-year-old kid who, like many 19-year-olds, doesn't have a clue. Mike takes Adam under his wing and introduces him to the night life, all the while promising Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn) that he'll take care of Adam.
If you can see where this is going, then great. That's the point. "Magic Mike" does something that few films have the guts to do. It sets up a predictable situation and then takes us through exactly that. No wacky, contrived plot twists necessary. Instead it focuses on how different people react and change when confronted with a predictable set of events.
Another thing this film does, better than any other I've seen in recent memory, is that it gives us REAL dialogue. I'm talking about the scenes between Mike & Brooke. It's every bit as real as something you'd experience in real life, right down to the stammering, the awkward fidgeting, the "flubbed lines". I put that in quotations because I'm not sure if the script was written that way, or if Tatum actually flubbed a few lines and Soderbergh left them in. My point is that the dialogue & chemistry between those two is so believable you'd think they didn't have a camera on them.
"Magic Mike" is not for everyone. It can't be accurately summed up with some exuberant catchphrase like "Laugh out loud funny!" or "A tragic masterpiece!" or "Nail biting suspense!" Also I would say that this is a very uncomfortable date movie, a very uncomfortable bro movie, and it's probably too heavy for a fun, gal's night out movie. If you do see it, it's probably best watched alone so you can really soak in the personal story it's telling. On an individual level I think we can all relate to the idea of being sidetracked by the pursuit of a dream, rather than the dream itself, regardless of if we're guys wearing buttless cowboy pants in front of 200 squealing, undersexed women.
Trailer is misleading, great movie though (IMDB: 8)
On: 12/4/2014 12:00:00 AM By: rooprect