Movie Review – Magic Mike (2013)

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey

Mike (Tatum) is a thirty year old man who has a lot of business interests. While he’s working on a construction site he meets Adam (Pettyfer) and the two of them get along, so Mike introduces Adam to his main source of income – stripping. Adam’s sister, Brooke (Horn) is not a fan of this lifestyle but Mike develops feelings for her, and secretly he wants out of the stripping world so he can pursue his dream and live a normal life.

Magic Mike had a big buzz when it came out but it seems to have faded from the public consciousness ever since then. It’s strange how people react to movies like this. To me, it’s just another movie to watch (although I realize as a film reviewer my perspective is slightly different to that of the average person). My sister actually refused to watch this movie with me because she thought it would be weird watching it with her brother. I think people get too caught up on the stripping when in reality I didn’t think it was that gratuitous and there is a story here.

But the story is rather predictable. The plot beats are familiar and from the first few scenes you can pretty much tell what’s going to happen. I found it a bit odd as well, because for a large part of the film it seemed to be focusing on Adam’s story and Mike faded into the background. I actually think this film would have been better had it been a bit longer and had more of an ensemble film, telling the story of the group of male strippers and how it affected all their lives. Instead, the other performers weren’t developed characters. Even Dallas (McConaughey) didn’t get much development, and it was up to the actors whether their characters were charismatic or not.

One of the main plot points is the romance between Mike and Brooke. I didn’t think Horn was very good in this movie. I didn’t feel any chemistry between the two actors and there wasn’t anything that made me root for them, so I wasn’t invested in it at all. I much preferred the brotherly relationship between Mike and Adam, and how Adam was being introduced to this world. Pettyfer practically stole every scene he was in and did a good job of showing the transformation he went as he got deeper and deeper into the stripping world.

Some of the scenes, especially those set outside the club early on in the film, felt like footage from a hidden camera show. I wasn’t a fan of this as the acting and dialogue felt stilted. The choreography of the stripping routines was impressive and there was a great deal of humour that came from that world. I also liked how the climax of Mike’s story was juxtaposed with the ending in the club, as it provided a fitting ending.

I don’t think Magic Mike is an amazing film but I also don’t think it should be dismissed as simply a film about strippers. I actually like the fact that it explores this world because I can’t remember a film before that has been about male strippers, so it’s something unusual and different. It is an uneven film though so I can’t give it my full recommendation but I do think it is worth checking out as there is some substance behind the flash.

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