Magic Mike (2012)

Magic Mike
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Matthew McConaughey, Olivia Munn

Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper with big plans: he wants to build and design his own furniture. Therefore he saves his money, works as a builder during the daytime and generally pursues many options. When he meets the young Adam (Alex Pettyfer), he introduces him into the world of male stripping, much to the disapproval of Adam’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn). But while stripping seems like easy money, it’s not all sunshine and kittens.

I would have loved to be able to write a good review of this film. I would have accepted both, if it was a fun-filled movie made for ogling guys or if it was an actual thoughtful film about the dangers of selling yourself as a piece of meat in a rather seedy environment. Unfortunately, this movie ends up being neither – instead it’s a ridiculous and boring mess.

It is obviously nigh-impossible to find good-looking guys in Hollywood who a) know how to dance, b) can act and c) are willing to strip in front of a camera. Because all the actors in this film, while all willing to strip, can either dance or act, or in the case of Alex Pettyfer, pretty much neither. (Really, with Joe Mangianello you can basically see the moment where he just thought “fuck this moving in time thing, my abs will have to suffice for this job.”)

Not that the script was of much help to any of these guys. I’m not sure whether a lot of the dialogues were actually improvised or they thought it would be a good idea to have everybody stumble over every second word (maybe to make it more realistic), but the results are incredibly wooden – or whenever Cody Horn is on-screen actually grating.

But the biggest problem is Mike himself. Not only is Channing Tatum not the world’s best actor (at least he knows how to move), but Mike remains completely featureless and so lubed with charm that you never really get a grip on him. Which means that you don’t really care about  him at all, not even for a moment.

The movie tried so hard for an honest appraisal of “the stripping scene”, but it can’t shake a whiff of ridicule or incredulity about it. Or maybe I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief. Either way I could have hardly cared less about any of it.

Summarising: Doesn’t come even close to the best film about male strippers yet, The Full Monty.


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