Strip club romp lost in a love story
Magic Mike. Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn; directed by Stephen Soderbergh.
It's a bit hard to pinpoint the audience for Magic Mike. Ostensibly, women, because it's a movie set in and around a male strip revue. However, that falls apart a little bit under stronger scrutiny.
Channing Tatum is the title character, Mike - a man on a mission. He's trying to start his own business with scraping odd construction jobs and stripping on the side.
He mentors young Adam (Pettyfer) into the business, and soon there's ... a lot of machine gun metaphors flying about on screen.
There's a story of sorts, with Mike falling for Adam's sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who, unfortunately, spends the whole movie looking like she has just swallowed a lemon tree. It's a bit off-putting when Tatum is sitting around being all buff and charming, and she's just sneering in the corner. It's a thin romance plot at best, and I'm hard-pressed to say why it's there.
The other storyline, that's completely wasted, is far more interesting to me, with strip club owner Dallas (McConaughey, chewing up the scenery) dreaming bigger than his little club in a corner of Tampa, Florida.
It would have been a far more interesting movie if they'd ditched the love story altogether and focused more on Mike and Dallas' back story, which was barely mentioned in passing.
I'm all for movies that work hard to draw in women viewers, but at the same time, we don't need to be pandered to. Yes, we can appreciate the aesthetic beauty of certain male forms (if you blokes leave your undies on), but we're also capable of understanding a more complex - and ultimately more interesting - story than stripper boy meets po-faced girl.
Magic Mike feels like a missed opportunity and that is a shame.
The Southland Times