It’s Not Shit: Magic Mike
So many abs.
TL;DR So hey, there’s abs. The acting is also not awful and the story is handled subtly. Also, abs. 4 out of 5 stars.
So the plot is about Magic Mike (Channing Tatum. Duh). He is a 30 year-old stripper who is also a construction worker and a custom furniture maker. He meets Alex Pettyfer one day and brings him into the wonderful world of stripping. Alex has your typical descent into debauchery, which is contrasted with Mike’s desperate struggle to become a legitimate businessman and his own issues with his self-worth. Alex’s sister is a bit of a Debbie Downer, but she’s not a douche. Matthew McConaughey, the strip club’s owner, is a douche. Business shenanigans ensue. Mike leaves the club and Alex falls irredeemably into it.
So yeah, there’s a lot of stripping here. A lot. And everyone is beautiful.
I think the thing that most impressed me about this movie was that it reignited the appeal for Channing Tatum within me. TBH, he wasn’t that exciting in The Vow or 21 Jump Street. I’ve never really seen why everyone swoons over him. I kinda do now. Semi-naked gyrating will do that to you.
Also, the plot moves along at a quietly understated pace. It’s not all romcom fluff, and it doesn’t reach too far into the pretentious drama sphere. It’s a mesmerising combination of abs, character arcs and decent performances.
The only real problem would be that while it is sublte and downplayed, it also hugs the border of boring and uneventful. If you took all the stripping sequences out, this would be a very dull ride.
Why I DON’T hate this movie:
Let’s look at our strippers. Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, that guy from True Blood, that guy from CSI Miami, Kevin Nash and Matthew McConaughey. The only disappointment of the bunch would be McConaughey, because his accent is just too sleazy for my delicate ears. And yeah, Kevin Nash is old, but his costumes are tasteful enough.
Mike’s plot about trying to make his dreams happen doesn’t stray too far into melodrama. We get just enough scenes of him and his furniture stuff to believe it’s something of value to him without it becoming a massive plot tumor.
His growing relationship with Alex’s sister (who I will refer to as Sister) is also done minimalistically. No dates or any of that typical shit. Their attraction is obvious but not constantly thrust into our faces like so many g-string-clad crotches. The only real explicit display of affection they have is at the very end when they decide to finally fuck. And delaying it makes it much more satisfying.
Similarly, his friends with benefits situation with Olivia Munn gets brought in just enough so that we know it matters. And when she later reveals to have a fiancé and wants to have nothing more to do with Mike, it hurts. Poor dude.
Olivia also gets her titties out (and there’s a scence where Bomer’s character’s wife gets hers out, too. And they are nice), so there’s eye candy for everyone.
When Alex gets suddenly sent out on stage to fill in for a drugged-out Nash, the song they play is Like A Virgin. I lol’d. He also gets off the stage and engages with a girl out on her 21st birthday party. He puts on her tiara aaaannd I guess I have a new fetish now.
Channing does a lot of dancing during his performances, and he’s actually pretty good at it.
After Alex buys a whole bunch of g-strings etc, Sister thinks he’s gay and wants to have a supportive talk with him. Aww.
Mike dresses as Marilyn Monroe when he comes to collect Alex and Sister for a 4th of July party. Rocks it.
When Mike and Alex get attacked by a group of jealous boyfriends while they’re doing a sorority party, they beat up their attackers while basically naked. Umpf.
The scene after Alex ODs and Mike bails him out of his $10,000 drug debt, where he goes to see Sister, is pretty moving. He pours his heart out to Sister and finally shows some real self-awareness. I melted.
Later, when he ditches the final show, he’s crying while driving. Umpf.
Best line goes to Sister, when she’s just discovered an OD’d Alex at Mike’s place following a bender they had. She bitches Mike out: “You’re a bullshit, 30 year-old male stripper.” Truth hurts.
Oh, and did I mention abs?
Reasons to hate:
Alex’s plot arc, while effective, is a bit been there, done that. He goes from mild-mannered college drop out to drug-fucked jerkass. I did appreciate how his story had a bleak ending (McConaughey promotes him once Mike leaves and Alex’s final shot is of him beaming, about to take Mike’s position in their famous It’s Raining Men number), but I feel like “They got addicted to drugs” is such a generic storyline.
McConaughey is so gross and seedy. I actually liked his whole evil thing in Killer Joe, but there’s just too much oiled, leathery McConaughey flesh in this one. Enough.
Alex Pettyfer is a bit of a gargantuan douche IRL, so I kept having to forget that every time he came on screen as this naive little hot-body.
Gabriel Iglesias is the club DJ and hooks Alex up with selling drugs. I just kept getting flashbacks from his terrible =3 guest hosting spots. Ugh.
The business drama with McConaughey was a bit DNC for me. I get enough of that garbage in Gossip Girl and Revenge.
McConaughey’s disdain for Mike, who he leaves hanging for a long time with the business deal and then gives him a lower-than-quoted equity cut anyway, is unexplained. Mike is the star of the show, yet McConaughey pretty much showers Alex with everything in only 3 months of having him there. Rude.
McConaughey also tries to burn Mike by saying he ain’t gettin’ any younger. Irony.
I guess Tampa must be sunny, because every single shot that isn’t inside at nighttime is extremely yellow. We get it, guys. Stop.
Oh, and Mike says it’s taken him 6 years to save $13,000 to get his furniture business going. Living in a fucking beach-front mini mansion probably doesn’t help with saving money. Stupid.
So I don’t hate Channing Tatum anymore. Dammit. Also, abs. It’s not shit. 4 out of 5 stars.