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Magic Mike (DVD)
Member Name: goldenbat666
Magic Mike (DVD)
Advantages: Good performances, highly amusing routines, surprisingly dark spin, realism
Disadvantages: Not a great ending, shallow plot
Magic Mike (Tatum) is the star stripper of Xquisite, and despite nearing the age of 30, he has a loyal fanbase, and has no trouble racking up some new ones as he networks in various clubs to promote his shows. Stripping, he says, is easy: women, money and a good time all come easily. During the day, he makes his living as a roofer, and whilst on a job, he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a down on his luck young lad who looks good enough and could really use the cash. Mike introduces "The Kid" to the rest of his group, Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and last but not least, the leader/owner of the club, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). After a slightly awkward and embarrassing first start which the girls love anyway, Adam quickly settles into their night world of stripping, loving all the attention, money and no strings attached sex he gets to thoroughly and frequently enjoy.
Adam's leg-shaving, thong-wearing, sailor-hat-waving, late-night-partying antics are picked up by his older, more sensible sister Brooke (Cody Horn), who first assumes her brother is coming out of the closet, but once she faces the truth, tries her best to show her supportive face. She and Mike strike up a semi-relationship, during which she entrusts her less mature and aimless brother to a more experienced man to safely keep him out of trouble. But sadly, this is not to be, as Adam quickly spirals out of control, drunk on his drastic change in lifestyle, dabbles with illegal drugs, and gets himself into a messy situation. Despite the dangerous and volatile nature of his life, Adam is no way near to call it quits, whereas the ageing Mike, thanks to his genuine attraction and like towards Brooke, starts considering a new, alternate life without taking off his clothes in front of a wild audience.
So to address the obvious aspect most people will be rushing to the cinemas for, there is absolutely no shortage when it comes to the raunchy, extremely direct, thrust-heavy scenes of nudity, as actors fearlessly take control of the stage and show us everything they've got. Tatum in particular, gets to show off his dancing skills more so than other members in the cast, and the light, erotic side of the film is put together with masterful precision with several concept dance numbers, everyone dressing up appropriately for specific days or events. Soderbergh never forgets to liven things up even more with a dash of humour, something that arises not only from the generally outrageous nature of the film, but also from various stage mishaps that are bound to arise from live performances. Big Dick Richie for instance, needs to "prepare" with a pump to live up to his aptly given name in his solo act, he also has an unfortunate encounter with a slightly overweight, enthusiastic member of the audience, unwisely trying to life her up. Dallas' private dance tutorial for the newcomer Adam is guaranteed to bring the house down as the deadly serious but equally sleazy McConaughey steals the show.
Yes, McConaughey, in a second fantastically impressive performance of the year (after the earlier released "Killer Joe") is without a doubt the highlight of the film. With more than enough greasy charm to spare, he is completely fearless in diving into the role that could easily have been a cheesy caricature. He is quite the tease on stage, knowing exactly what is expected of him from his audience, driving the females wild with his thick Southern accented opening monologues, but behind the scenes, he is also the selfish, money-grabbing manager, promising all sorts of things to his strippers whilst never quite living up to his words. His screen time may be limited, and his is most definitely a supporting role, but it's one that never goes unnoticed.
Tatum has most certainly come a long way from his "Step Up" days, and as someone who continues to impress and improve with every film he stars in, he is once again on top form here, even in the more sensitive scenes of quiet reflection. He and Horn make a convincing pair, and a lot of their exchanges sound so natural and effortless that despite the subject matter that may feel a little distant to most, the characters themselves have plenty of realism about them.
Pettyfer doesn't play the most likable character in the world, and so he has a tough time trying to find sympathy from the audience with his cocky, arrogant act that eventually lands him in trouble, but he fits the role of a young, naively enthusiastic youngster well enough for Magic Mike to slowly realise and mature himself.
The main noticeable weakness comes from the film's lack of substantial plot, and the "coming of age" type of storyline that opts to take the easy, cheesy way out. And for someone who has been in his line of work for a significant period of time, Mike often demonstrates a surprising lack of street savvy knowledge when it comes to his relationships. For instance, he has a lady friend, who he calls up whenever he's bored; so the two of them are using one another for sex. One day, he sees this woman on a date with a man. Mike decides to approach, his first wrong move. Turns out the man she's having dinner with his actually her fiancÚ. Mike looks shocked; second wrong move - somehow having expected their relationship to have been more than it really was. Unlike the bright, teasing trailer, the film itself ventures out into harsher, more brutal sides that come with the job - and it's a move that certainly had its good intentions to start with, but in the end descends into unavoidably preachy, judgmental look at all the fun aspects it previously enjoyed.
But "Magic Mike" has more than enough of its confident, hysterical moments to pass the time - and with stand-out performances it boosts its appeal even more. But please, no sequels - would that be asking too much? The nudity will go up, the plot will go down and so will the general quality.
Summary: A lot remains the same and unoriginal despite the great performances and raunchy, dancing men