HT Schuyler: Magic Mike Review

Posted: July 18, 2012 by htschuyler in HT Schuyler's Movie Reviews

Rated 14A for sexual content, nudity, drug use and violence.

Directed by: Steven Soderbergh.

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey and Gabriel Iglesias.

Magic Mike is an epic tale of a man named Mike (Channing Tatum) who does roofing by day and spends his nights stripping naked for women who eagerly throw money at him. His life is dramatically changed when he meets a young man named Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who he teaches the art of male stripping. Okay, maybe it’s not epic…and it’s not that dramatic…in fact it’s basically a soap opera which random male stripping montages every 15-20 minutes. But, is it any good?

Channing Tatum (who has recently grown on me after his awesome performance in 21 Jump Street) plays a really strong lead (I mean his performance, not physique) and does a good job at carrying the film. His character is simple and not at all diverse, but he’s likable enough and you enjoy watching him on screen…for his acting, not stripping. Alex Pettyfer’s character is very dull, one dimensional and kind of a douche, but as far as I’m concerned that’s how it’s written, so for that, Pettyfer does a good job. Adam’s sister, Brooke, is played by Cody Horn, who I guess did a good job, but I honestly couldn’t get over how completely unlikable her character was. Like she did a good job at being the protective sister I suppose, but her character was so dry and uninteresting I just couldn’t stand when she was on screen. It was a combination of the bad writing and her stale acting that made her a very uninteresting and unfortunate low point for the film. Matthew McConaughey plays Dallas, the manager, owner and lead stripper in the club where Magic Mike works. For the most part he spends his time stripping, but it’s when you actually get to see more of his character off the stage that he becomes rather interesting, and is really one of the only characters in the movie that has much of an arc, and McConaughey portrays it very well, and it looks like he’s having a blast playing it. The only other actor I’d like to talk about is Gabriel Iglesias, who’s character is surprisingly not for laughs, and he actually has a pretty interesting subplot, which sort of becomes the movie’s main plot. Iglesias does a great job, and proves that he’s just as talented an actor as he is a comedian. No other performance really stood out, most characters come and go, or have little to do besides showing off their physique, so overall I’ll just say the acting was alright. Simple as that.

The Good:

The movie had the extreme fortune of being directed by Steven Soderbergh, and his talents are probably the best thing about the film. There are great camera angles and interesting shots, the film (bizarrely enough) has a sort of gritty and realistic feel and tone. A lot of the shots are close-ups showing off characters expressions, reactions and emotions, and is shot in a way that makes it feel very real, and has a weird yellowish tinge to it…for some reason. The reason I stress the good direction is because it makes the “drama” aspects of the film, ie, the scenes that aren’t just a bunch of guys stripping, watchable and sometimes even interesting. There is a subplot about Mike wanting to design furniture but can’t get a business started due to complications with his bank, and it’s actually really interesting and adds some depth to the character, and just when you’re really eager to see how this subplot turns out it’s completely dropped and barely even addressed later on. There’s also a really cool fight scene where Mike and Adam beat the shit out of a bunch of frat boys. So, the direction is good, and when the movie actually leaves the strip club for a few minutes to allow some character development or an interesting plot (for however brief it is) it’s good too.

The Bad:

The films biggest flaw, which is a pretty damn big one, is that it’s just really, really, really not interesting. The movie has two sides which don’t compliment each other at all, one part is a serious drama about Adam and his sister’s relationship and Mike trying to get out of the stripping business and the other part is literally just montages of a bunch of guys taking their clothes off for screaming women. Now, I acknowledge and accept that the whole male stripping thing just isn’t for me, mainly due to the fact that I’m a straight male, but I was looking forward to the dramatic aspects of the film, and seeing how it dealt with Mike trying to leave the business and move on with his life, but unfortunately those aspects just really aren’t interesting, and are sometimes very boring. I literally had no idea what the plot was until they introduced a drug subplot with Gabriel Iglesias’ character, and even then the subplot is introduced, explored and resolved in about 20 minutes. When the film finally ended all I could really think was “that was it?” I didn’t necessarily want more, but the movie just has so little to offer story wise, and unfortunately really just exists to show a bunch of men taking their clothes off. I realize that this is based on Channing Tatum’s life before he became an actor, but I’m sure his real life story is far more interesting that what they showed here.

Okay, I know most people won’t be seeing this movie for its deep characters and complex plot, they’ll be seeing it to watch Channing Tatum plus others get naked, so for what it’s worth, it definitely provides that. So if you’re only in it for the stripping, go see it, I’m sure you’ll feel you’ve got your money’s worth.

In Conclusion:

I know that this isn’t my type of a movie, but a film should still be well written and developed regardless of its subject matter, so using that as an excuse seems pointless. Would I recommend Magic Mike? Not really. If all you want is to see stripping and nudity, there’s plenty of that, so if that’s all you want you go and enjoy this, but for everyone else, there’s just so little substance to make this film worth while, and as great as the direction is, and the few scenes I enjoyed, there’s little to recommend about this movie. A big plus I can give this film is that it never really did anything to piss me off, and I didn’t leave the theatre in anger like I would if I’d just watched an Adam Sandler movie or something, so take that as you will. You should know right from the trailer if this is the type of movie you want to see, so if you interested, check it out, if you’re not, stay away.

6/10

Comments
  1. Kristen says:

    As a female I should have loved this and yet I was so bored. In my review I equated it to a real strip show: once the clothes come back on and the glitter dries, you’re left with a group of regular uninteresting men. Glad to know you shared similar sentiments.

    • htschuyler says:

      That’s a perfect analogy, and I’m glad to know I’m not alone thinking it was surprisingly boring :P

  2. CMrok93 says:

    As a dude, straight-dude at that, I enjoyed this film big-time because of the performances and direction that took this film to a whole another entertainment level. Not perfect, though, but still a lot more enjoyable than I expected. Good review HT.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s