|Magic Mike's Cast: "Behold our abs, ye mortals,|
The movie itself is quite enjoyable, and a welcome return to form for Stephen Soderbergh after the misfire that was Haywire. I’d call it Boogie Nights with strippers, though I do wish I’d seen any of the witty dialogue for which the director is best known. Out of Sight is one of my favorite movies, and I was looking for some of the sexy banter I enjoyed between George Clooney and Jennifer Lopez in that film to crop up between Channing Tatum and Cody Horn, and I was slightly disappointed.
That said, the central storyline was entertining if predictable. Channing Tatum is a charming lead, and this movie has made me a fan of his. His Mike has the savviness of a street hustler combined with a real idealism he tries hard to cover up, but manifests nonetheless. The target of that idealism, Cody Horn’s Brooke, falls short of being worthy of it. It’s not necessarily the fault of the actress – she brings a low key sexiness to the movie – but the role is underwritten and uneven.
The central plot – Mike’s mentorship of Brooke’s younger brother Adam in the not-as-glamorous-as-it-looks world of male stripping – not surprisingly takes the predictable route of Mike “saving” the young man. Adam, callow youth that he is, resists it at every turn, beginning to deal drugs and basically being as irresponsible as a 19-year old generally is. When Mike ultimately does “save” him though – he pays off the drug dealers Adam has crossed – Adam is barely thankful, and his sister, who had implored Mike to take care of the young man throughout the movie suddenly has the attitude that “he’s going to do what he wants to.” A puzzling development, and one that to me makes her basically unworthy of Mike’s attentions, but the movie doesn’t explore that, instead tacking on an ending wherein Mike has rejected the stripper lifestyle that’s supported him this long to be with her. My problem is that she’s done very little to be worth it to him.
Ultimately, I think the person Mike saves is himself, and for that reason I really liked the film, for all its imperfections, and I suppose if Brooke was to be the symbol of the life he has been yearning for, she’s served that purpose, it’s just that I didn’t feel it.
The movie is realistic in unexpected ways, the dance sequences are entertaining, Matthew McConaughey reminds you why he’s a movie star (hello, Best-Supporting Actor Oscar!), and it features two absolutely stunning dance numbers highlighting Channing Tatum’s loose-hipped style of b-boy smoovness. Definitely go see it.
Rating: 3.5/5 Squeeing Fangirls
Matt Bomer: "Hey Joe, they're saying there's not enough of us in this film."
Joe Manganiello: "They would be right, my friend."
WE WANT MAGIC MATT!
Speaking from the point of view of a rabid Matt Bomer fan, however, the film falls short. Yes, I know he’s a supporting player, but I wanted more of his dancing scenes (and everyone else’s for that matter).
That said, it is the quantity that was lacking, not the quality. Matt’s performance is a refreshing surprise. If you haven’t seen it, be warned that this is not the movie for you if you expect to see Matt portray another variation on the earnest yet flawed hero we’ve come to know and love. Matt’s Ken is a vapid and shallow man, who has traded on his good lucks for a life and a lifestyle that will ultimately be the end of him. He is a married man who freely offers his half-naked wife up to his friends (not that she seems to mind much), and might even be a drug dealer. It is certainly a glimpse into a future that Mike would reject for himself, but it proves to be very alluring for young Adam. Probably not the nicest guy, when all is said and done, this Ken.
And that’s what I loved about it – seeing Matt explore other nuances in roles, stretching his acting muscles and showing us what he can really do. Makes me positively gag to see him in The Normal Heart (must we really wait until 2014?!).
Rating: Matt gets ALL the Squeeing Fangirls
Your turn, Collars. What did you think of the film?