Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Netflix Mail Day Movie Review: "Magic Mike" (2012)

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Movie"Magic Mike"
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Year: 2012
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

Mike (Channing Tatum) is a roofer by day and also makes custom furniture on the side. He hopes to open his own business one day. He meets Adam, aka The Kid (Alex Pettyfer), a barely even 19 years old CraigsList applicant, on his job site one afternoon, and sees him again that same night while going into a club. Following him, Adam quickly discovers Mike also goes by another name, Magic Mike, at his nighttime job: he is the main attraction of the Kings of Tampa, an all-male stripper troupe. Owing Mike a favor, Adam proceeds to get put up on stage for the first time on a whim, but quickly becomes a key member of the Kings. Unfortunately, Adam isn't just involved in the stripper lifestyle, but also, all that comes with it: money, women, drugs and power. This begins to impact his sister Brooke (Cody Horn) and her budding relationship with Mike.

You know, there comes a point every now and then as a movie reviewer where I get a little angry about the lack of male nudity in cinema. Now, this sounds really bad coming from someone who is married, but the amount of female to male nudity is probably 100 PAIRS of breasts per 1 dong shot. Crass? Yes, but true? You have to admit, I'm right. I say this in jest, of course...it's probably more like every 1,000 pairs of breasts.

That being said, as a feminist, I should be opposed to the notion of "men being discriminated against and objectified" because of movies such as this. Awwww, do you want a tissue, meninists? I never thought I would have to write this, but sure, maybe it does give men an unrealistic expectation of how they are supposed to look based on stereotypes of an ideal man. This ain't my type of guy, but hey, that's how the cookie crumbles. However, I WILL NOT apologize for taking the necessary time to carefully inspect "Magic Mike" not only as a piece of cinema, but as a movie with the "female gaze" in mind. #fightme

"Magic Mike" is directed by Steven Soderberg, so you know you're in for some artsy shit beyond just a bunch of hunks stripping. This movie is more than just a stripper film, though it does begin this way, and slowly. Beyond the dry-humping and thongs, it actually takes a deeper look into the life of these beefcakes, which includes aspirations away from the nightclub scene, drug usage, discrimination (yes, you read that right), how having relationships is hard for someone of "that" profession, as well as the corruption and money troubles that often go on when the curtain falls. Sure, there are some butts every now and then, but the mix of stripping and actual life is decently distributed. The fact that's it's semi-based on actor Channing Tatum's time as a male stripper before he came a resident Hollywood A-lister makes it all the more compelling. Now, all of this praise does not mean it's a perfect film. While some of the script is good, it is counterbalanced by completely dopey dialogue and delivery. "Big Dick Richie"? "Tarzan"? COME ON.

Since this film is semi based on Tatum's past participation in the field, it only makes sense he'd be the star of this romp. Tatum does a fine job as the titular Magic Mike, and we believe him as both a stripper and otherwise. He still has that weird marble-in-his-mouth way of speaking, and this is very distracting, but when it comes to busting a move and gyration, well, he's got it down pat. Alex Pettyfer is an annoying prick of a kid and he is also not a great actor. He's stiff, he mumbles, and had to only be cast because of how he looked. Cody Horn is one of the worst actresses we have ever seen. She has permanent resting bitchface and a Kristen Stewart tone of voice to go along with it. Her father was formerly the head of Warner Brothers, this film's production company, so, is there really any doubt why she was cast here?? Apart from these 3 main stars, recent Oscar winner Matthew McConaughey stars as Dallas, the leader of the Kings of Tampa, and someone who looks shady from the minute you hear him spewing and believing his own bullshit. He's fine in this, but let's be real for a second, he's not in the sequel because he won an Oscar a couple of years ago and is now above it. Never forget your upbringing, McConaughey. Resident hunka-hunka-burnin'-love Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and dredged up from the bottom of obscurity Kevin Nash fill out the rest of The Kings of Tampa. Gabriel Iglesias also fills in a role as the house DJ and part time drug dealer Tobias, randomly so, and it'll make you wonder why he's even there in the first place.

While the movie can be engaging and funny at times, there are massive periods of slowness and boringness. But, let's face it, ladies do not see this movie for its enthralling plot, they see it for washboard abs and a hint of peen. Remember what I was talking about up above? There are more boobs in this movie than there are penises. In a movie about male strippers! Be prepared for lots of butts, but little else. At the end of the day, as far an entertainment factor goes, "Magic Mike" does have some, but it's underneath the artsy fartsy direction, camerawork, some truly horrible acting by 2 out of 3 of the principle actors, and its style. If there was any doubt as to why Hollywood is producing a second Magic Mike film, it's because the first one made 23.8 times its budget, which was only $7 million and self-financed by Tatum and director Steven Soderbergh. #ComeAgain

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 5/10
IMDB's Rating: 6.1/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 80%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?
One year ago, we were watching:

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