To borrow a cliche phrase, movies like Magic Mike don’t ordinarily fall in my wheelhouse. I’ve never been one for hunky, lady-boner, popular spectacles like this one, but somehow I got myself convinced to see it, using the merits of “Steven Soderbergh directed it!” as my weak justification.
Let’s just say that I’m quite glad I did see it, because it was adorable!
Channing Tatum had never really appealed to me until he hosted Saturday Night Live. Once he did that, he earned my respect, even if I had no desire to see any of his lame chick flicky movies. I thought he was hilarious, adventurous, and sweet as the host, and while I didn’t buy a poster and put it in my room or anything–this guy is more my type–I made a conscious effort not to say his name “Tanning Chatum” anymore on purpose.
Magic Mike took it to a whole ‘nother level. Tatum got the chance to act and dance and do what he actually does. His character, Mike, was a simple guy on the surface, but an ambitious one below, and to watch him struggle with his great conscience and his great attitude whilst being surrounded by scummy folks was a delight. It sort of bummed me out that [spoiler alert] he ended up with Brooke (Cody Horn, whom I loved) AND decided not to go to Miami, because that’s lame. But maybe, somewhere, in the sequel ether (sequether), Mike and Brooke pick up and move somewhere, out of Florida, and have a nice life together, he building furniture and she… being snarky. Who knows. A girl can dream.
Speaking of dream, this movie is obviously and literally overflowing with eye candy. Matt Bomer? Yes please. Joe Mangianello? More like this. Alex Pettyfer? Don’t mind if I do. That last one had an interesting storyline, one that sort of took the triumph out of Mike’s story, but one that also played with the idea of a foe a bit. Mike wrestled with stereotypes, sure, as he tried to get a loan at the bank or win the affection of a skeptical Brooke, but he also went up against a young kid who didn’t even realize how much damage he was doing. With the exception of his noticeably unnatural accent, Pettyfer did a great job of being an annoying ingenue, naturally attractive and talented but un-self-conscious about it.
And now for the main event, Matthew “My name is Dallas” McConaughey. This role is, as I’ve said to many of my friends now, his Ari Gold. It is both self-satirizing and brilliant, and should be recognized beyond a reasonable doubt. No one but McConaughey could have played that role. He nails it. He is greasy, sad, hilarious, and beautiful all at the same time, like you might imagine an aging strip club owner to be, and he is probably the best reason to see this movie.
But then again, Channing Tatum dances the shit out of every show, there are abs and speedo schlongs everywhere, and the whole thing is just a generally happy, sexy romp. So you make the call.