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Movie Review: Magic Mike

June 29, 2012

Magic Mike – A Warner Bros. Pictures’ Release

http://magicmikemovie.warnerbros.com/

Release Date: June 29th, 2012

Rated 14A for coarse language, sexual content, substance abuse and nudity

Running time: 110 minutes

Steven Soderbergh (dir.)

Reid Carolin (screenplay)

Channing Tatum as Magic Mike

Alex Pettyfer as Adam

Matthew McConaughey as Dallas

Cody Horn as Brooke

Olivia Munn as Joanna

Matt Bomer as Ken

Joe Manganiello as Big Dick Richie

Kevin Nash as Tarzan

Adam Rodriguez as Tito

Gabriel Iglesias as Tobias

 

©Warner Bros. Pictures.  All Rights Reserved.

Mike (Channing Tatum) leads a strip tease in Magic Mike.

Our reviews below:

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Magic Mike Review By John C.

**1/2 (out of 4)

I’ve always admired director Steven Soderbergh for the risks he takes as a filmmaker and his willingness to switch gears between projects that usually come within a few months of each other.  When compared to such classics as Erin Brockovich, Traffic, the Oceans 11 trilogy and the similarly themed The Girlfriend Experience, Magic Mike is one of his lesser films.  But it’s still an interesting effort that feels far more experimental than the female-oriented trailers would suggest.

Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper, enjoying the “women, money and a good time” of Tampa Bay, Florida under the direction of charismatic club owner, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey).  Working as a construction worker by day, Mike recruits his 19-year-old colleague Adam (Alex Pettyfer) into the industry, teaching him the rules of the game.  It doesn’t hurt that Mike finds himself falling in love with Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn).  But when “The Kid” fully embraces the industry, including its dangerous dark side, Magic Mike starts looking for a way to keep his clothes on and follow his dreams.

The whole film is shot on digital through the yellowish haze of a hangover.  There are so many stylistic flourishes on display in Magic Mike that it feels more in tune with Steven Soderbergh’s experimental independent films than the big studio picture that Warner Bros. has conveniently marketed it to be.  I don’t think anybody is going to expect the surprisingly gritty look of the film from the saturation of glossy trailers that have bombarded us over the last few months.  The highly stylized cinematography doesn’t always work, but for better or for worse, this is the work of a filmmaker unafraid of taking risks.  I’m just not sure that mainstream audiences are going to expect these risks to have been taken.

The film is relatively plotless and occasionally feels a bit put together, with some of the editing between scenes coming out of nowhere and long stretches where nothing much actually happens.  There are some dark twists that come in the last act, but then it surrenders to a much lighter view of the industry that makes the film lack a lot of actual substance.  Some will inevitably disagree and it’s undeniable that Magic Mike has a talented director and a good cast, but there could have been more of an actual plot to the proceedings.

What consistently keeps Magic Mike going are not the surprisingly short stripping sequences, but the acting.  Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and especially Matthew McConaughey give a trio of good performances that all add something to the film.  Although Warner Bros. has sold it as something much more flashy than it really is and the look of the film is more experimental than many will expect, Magic Mike is often entertaining and has enough going for it to deserve a mild recommendation.

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Magic Mike Review by Erin V.  

**1/2 (out of 4)

Magic Mike stars Channing Tatum as the titular character, a young male stripper who is trying to save up enough money to start his own furniture business.  When he meets another young guy strapped for cash, he introduces him to the club world where he works and mentors this new guy dubbed ‘The Kid’ (Alex Pettyfer) in the world of Dallas’ (Matthew McConoughey) Club Xquisite.  But along the way, he meets the Kid’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn), and realizes that maybe he wants a little more than just dancing on a stage for women every night.

The trailer portrays a glossy, shiny product full of dancing, flashing lights, and scantly-clad guys.  There are definitely some great dance sequences here – they are all very well choreographed and Channing Tatum can really dance (the story was inspired by his own days stripping many years ago).  But the rest of the film has a very experimental indie feel, shot in its yellow-toned digital palette.  I don’t mind an indie feel, but I do think that many who are buying tickets for this film will feel misled when they get something very different from what the trailer portrays.

Magic Mike on a whole feels like a bit of a experiment by director Steven Soderbergh (who you can admire for the risks he takes).  But the problem here is that this experiment is ten minutes shy of two hours rather than ninety minutes, and at times feels disjointed in where the story takes its turns.  But, the film is entertaining to watch and I wasn’t bored.  The cast give good performances and Mike is a likeable character to follow.

If you want tons of music and dancing, try Rock of Ages instead, but if after reading what I wrote above you’re still interested in Magic Mike, by all means go see it – it is a pretty good film, just different from what the trailer says.

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Magic Mike Review by Nicole

**1/2 (out of 4)

Magic Mike is one of those films that is different from what the trailers suggest.  While it is marketed as a blockbuster, it is really an indie film.  The title character, Mike (Channing Tatum), is a construction worker by day and an exotic dancer by night.  When one of Mike’s construction buddies, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) loses his job, he invites him to work at the men’s exotic dance club, Xquisite.  While he becomes a big hit with the ladies, Mike begins to fall for Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who is genuinely concerned for her brother’s well being.  When Adam falls prey to the drugs that often accompany the exotic dance club culture, Mike begins to question his own night life career.

Magic Mike is an uneven film.  As a young female I can attest to the fact that the well choreographed dance sequences are entertaining, but I would have liked to have seen more investigation into the darker side of the industry.  Magic Mike does look at the naiveté of youth (Adam is 19), lack of decent employment and the danger of drugs, (one scene of the after affects of ecstasy poisoning is particularly nauseating) – all dangers of the sex industry – yet it feels like two separate films.  A comedy and a drama.  The editing between scenes is quite choppy, and the lighting is not always that good.

However, the acting is decent.  Channing Tatum and Alex Pettyfer are believable as friends.  This film is apparently quite personal to Tatum, as he was an exotic dancer at the age of 18.  Alex Pettyfer’s character is loosely based on Tatum’s own experiences, and he plays Mike in a believable and sensitive way.  Magic Mike is a fine film, yet Stephen Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, also about the sex industry, is a better made independent film.

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Magic Mike Review by Maureen

**1/2 (out of 4)

One thing’s for sure, Channing Tatum has some really impressive magic dance moves in director Steven Soderbergh’s movie Magic Mike.  It’s too bad the whole movie doesn’t have the magic and energy that exists on the screen during the several dance segments.

Channing Tatum plays Magic Mike, a construction worker and entrepreneur by day and a male stripper/exotic dancer by night.  His real dream however is to create custom-made furniture.  Since the bank won’t give him a loan to start up his business, a guy’s gotta do what a guy’s gotta do to earn some serious cash.  Mike performs at the Xquisite club run by cowboy hat wearing Dallas (Mathew McConaughey) who still has some good moves left in him.  Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is a nineteen year old living on his sister Brooke’s (Cody Horn) couch and in need of a job.  Mike sees some potential in Adam and gets him a gig at the club.  Awkward at first, it’s not long before Adam is totally immersed in the lifestyle, especially the darker side of substance abuse.

From the many trailers, audiences may think this is a musical of sorts.  While there are several well choreographed dance segments, the main focus is on the friendship between Mike, Adam and Brooke and Adam’s descent into the darker side of the industry.

Magic Mike has an indie feel to it much of the time with some segments filmed in an experimental style that just didn’t work for me.  The editing between scenes also feels rushed at times with some of the dance segments cutting off mid-song.  Overall, the story feels predictable and it would have been nice to see more character development with Mike, Adam and Brooke.  On the plus side, Channing Tatum gives a really nice performance both on and off the dance stage.  He does seem to be growing as an actor.  Matthew McConaughey is also fun to watch as cowboy Dallas both on and off the stage.

Audiences going to Magic Mike just to see the lead male actors half-naked performing some raunchy dance numbers will get what they paid for, but may be disappointed they have to sit  through a lot of dialogue and drama in between.  While Magic Mike has some degree of entertainment value, I found Warner Bros. recent movie Rock of Ages to be a whole lot more raunchy fun and better all around entertainment.

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Magic Mike Review by Tony

**1/2 (out of 4)

Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) is a male stripper (with thongs) headlining a show of gifted performers in a Florida club run by the emcee Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Meeting Adam (Alex Pettyfer) at a day job construction site, Mike invites him to the club to help out. When one of the regular dancers quits, the 19 year old Adam is put out on stage as “The Kid” with reassurances by Mike to Adam’s older sister Brooke (Cody horn) that he will look out for Adam. When Adam does fall prey to temptation, Mike is there for him.

Magic Mike is anchored by Tatum’s charming performance, based in part on his own experience. The supporting cast is fine, particularly during the stage performances that are impressive in their raunchy choreography. Any glamour is tempered by the shallow modest lifestyles offstage and rather murky camerawork that director/cinematographer Steven Soderbergh manages to get from his 5K HD equipment. Though it is not as bright and celebratory as the trailer promises, it is not as bleak as one might expect from Darren Aronofsky for example. I am not, nor do I really know any fans of this sort of entertainment, but I found it to be an interesting glimpse into the scene that is worth seeing.

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Consensus: Far less flashy than the trailers suggest, Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike is sometimes overly experimental in terms of camera work, but is carried by good acting from Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey.  **1/2 (Out of 4)

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