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Movie Review | Magic Mike

 

Contrary to what you might believe, Magic Mike (aka “the stripper movie”) is not just about stripping and dancing. It’s actually more of a cautionary tale against “the life.” The trailer will make you think the movie is going to be all fun and games, with a love story between Channing Tatum and the main female lead thrown into the mix, but it turns out the “main female lead” is barely in the movie, as the film focuses more on the dancers and Tatum in particular.

“Magic Mike” (Channing Tatum, The Vow) is almost thirty and has been stripping for six years. His real passion is designing custom furniture, but he needs a loan from the bank to be able to pursue that dream, and because his work is cash-only (wink, wink), Mike’s credit is too poor to get a loan. He has a side job working for a roofer, and it’s there that he meets Adam, aka The Kid (Alex Pettyfer, In Time), who he recruits to be a stripper. Alex is strapped for cash, so this job ends up being perfect for him, and it turns out he has a knack for stripping, too. Mike meets Alex’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn, TV’s Rescue Me), who doesn’t really want Alex to be a stripper, and Mike likes Brooke a lot; Brooke, however, doesn’t want anything to do with “the life” and also already has a boyfriend.

The stripping and dancing scenes are probably why people (okay, mostly women) are going to want to see “Magic Mike,” and they are undoubtedly hot. Even Matthew McConaughey (Bernie), playing the 40-something owner of the strip club who usually doesn’t “take the floor,” does a striptease near the end of the film, and between him, Tatum, Pettyfer, and the other dancers (who barely have any lines, actually) those parts of the movie is definitely a good time. What surprised me about this film, though, is that the rest of it is a little depressing. Mike can’t design his furniture until he gets a bank loan, and even though he dresses up nicely and goes to the bank with a ton of cash, they deny him a loan because of his low credit. Adam (Pettyfer) gets into selling drugs that he gets from the emcee at the club, and a routine performance at a sorority house goes bad because of this, with him and Mike being chased out while ducking beer bottles being thrown at their heads. Mike has a casual relationship with Joanna (Olivia Munn, I Don’t Know How She Does It) but later finds out – SPOILER – that she’s actually engaged. These situations and more were not what I was expecting from the film, but it wasn’t necessarily bad that they were included in it.

Yes, see this film, though it has my lowest “Yes” recommendation (3 stars). It was more serious than I would have thought it would be, but I still ended up enjoying it, and I didn’t find it to be lagging in any scenes either despite its long-ish runtime. People will go to see it for the “beefcake” (Tatum, McConaughey, Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash), but will be surprised when they find a movie that portrays “the life” as being more complicated than they might have imagined. I found some of the cuts in the movie to be a little oddly placed too; at the beginning, we see the scene from the trailer where McConaughey laughingly tells the ladies present at the club that “it’s against the law to touch … but I see a lotta lawbreakers here tonight,” and then there’s a quick cut to Tatum lying in bed, with almost no transition. For the most part, however, I ended up enjoying the movie, and I would still recommend it, whether you’re there for the guys or dragged there by a significant other.

Magic Mike is in theaters today, June 29th, and is rated R with a runtime of 110 minutes.

Rating: 3 stars out of 5

Liz is our regular movie reviewer and writes for her film blog (Yes/No Films) and book blog (Books I Think You Should Read), as well as Examiner.com and CBS Detroit. You can follow her on Facebook and on Twitter.