13 July 2012
MAGIC MIKE- Review
Magic Mike is apparently based on aspects of Tatum's life, and his early career as a male stripper at the age of 19, and Soderbergh re-teams with one of his actors from Haywire to bring this to the screen. Mike is a dancer at a club called Xquisite, but it's his young protege Adam who becomes just as much the protagonist of the film. Mike takes Adam, a lazy, teenaged slacker, under his wing, and teaches him how to make money, chat up women and enjoy the lifestyle of a stripper. Meanwhile, 30-year-old Mike is desperate to get out and start a business, and his encouragement of Adam has consequences.
Starting with Haywire, back in January, 2012 has thus far been the year in which Channing Tatum has really got people to sit up and take him seriously as an actor. He may not be even a hundredth percentage of a good actor in the eyes of many cineastes, but his choices have been more interesting, especially in his two collaborations with Soderbergh, a noted actor's director. Elsewhere, the one-two box office punch of 21 Jump Street and The Vow have propelled him into the A-list, in a time when bankable stars are in short supply.
To speculate in such matters is a little useless, not least because analysing this film foregoes the appeal that most people got from the trailers- so, yes, there's a large amount of man-flesh on show. The choreography of the dances for all of the principal male cast, which includes Joe Mangianello and Matthew McConaughey, as well as Tatum and Pettyfer, is enough to make female audiences scream like they're at a hen do, and to make male audiences want to go to the gym and stay there till they feel a little less self-conscious. It's not the raucous good time that the trailer depicts, however, as much as it is a film of two halves.
The first half shows the glamour of the lifestyle, while seeding Mike's nice-guy personality and loftier aspirations- I think I actually sensed some women melting behind me in the cinema, when he declared his dream of making furniture out of flotsam and jetsam he finds on the beach- for the more narrative-driven second half. As the film goes on, the pitfalls of the lifestyle are thoroughly explored, and the ways in which stripping brings out the worst in Adam's personality. Happily, Reid Carolin's script makes room for some good humour in both parts.
Though never laugh-out-loud hilarious, there are some funny in-roads into the profession, particularly in one shot where Mangianello disrupts a character moment between Pettyfer and Tatum in the background, by doing something outrageous to primp himself in the foreground. There are also a good few jokes to be had from the goofy romance between Mike and Cody Horn's Brooke, the protective older sister of Adam, even though this is the limpest part of the film, (easy, ladies.) Special mention goes to McConaughey, who's also enjoying something of a career U-turn of late, with a boisterous and kind of sad role as Dallas, the 40-something proprietor of the strip club, and the very last thing that Mike wants from his future.
Magic Mike is still showing in cinemas nationwide.
If you've seen Magic Mike, why not share your comments below? I'm especially interested to hear if any ladies broke the cinema code of conduct during this one- the (largely female) audience I saw it with were well-behaved, with only one whoop and plenty of giggling...
I'm Mark the mad prophet, and until next time, don't watch anything I wouldn't watch.