Magic Mike

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magic mike
Men aren’t just pieces of meat to be exploited in a movie like this.

Magic Mike…how I wanted to just make it disappear.

This movie was so bad, I sat there thinking about all the good “Magic” things I remember. As a 10-year-old seeing Anthony Hopkins as a killer ventriloquist in Magic. Around that same time hearing Heart rock out with the song Magic Man, and Olivia Newton-John seduce my ears with Magic.

As a teenager, reading the credits on a J. Geils album and giggling as I found out their harmonica player was named Magic Dick – which could’ve been a name that worked for this.

Director/writer/choreographer Steven Soderbergh has proven to me that he’s lost his way.

I liked his films Good Night, and Good Luck, sex, lies, and videotape, Michael Clayton, and Out of Sight was one of my favorites that year.

I thought his movies Pleasantville, Solaris, The Jacket, The Limey, and Bubble were okay.

I didn’t like The Girlfriend Experience, The Informant!, Traffic, Ocean’s 13, and his last few movies: Cleo, Contagion, Haywire, and now this garbage.

After leaving the theatre and talking about how much I hated this, a few women were giving me a hard time (note to reader: any puns in this review aren’t intended). They said I disliked it because of the subject matter. That’s not true. Just as I didn’t like Sex and the City because it was crap, not because it was middle-aged women gossiping and buying shoes (I loved the show). I just thought this film had no story, and the weak script was just filled with goofy Hollywood clichés.

The commercials bill this as a fun film, but there’s nothing sexy about it and the stripping scenes lack variety. Channing Tatum (a former stripper) did the same break dancing moves in three scenes.

This could’ve been an interesting character study, if like Boogie Nights, we cared about the characters; or they were made to seem believable.

Take the scene in Boogie Nights where Don Cheadle wants to get a loan from a bank to open a stereo shop. The teller is polite, but letting him know they don’t give money to pornographers with a bad business plan. Cheadle seems so pathetic and sad as he pleads, it breaks your heart.

In this horrible film, Tatum (who makes his own furniture, and also has time to do roofing and own a car detailing business) is wearing glasses, dressed nice (and not oiled up). The woman at the bank can barely talk because of how handsome the man sitting in front of her is. It was utterly ridiculous on every level (the first being that, if he wants to make and sell furniture, can’t he just do that?)

I can go scene for scene, comparing that amazing movie with this piece of garbage. And really, it’s not like new movies have to live up to the classics. I just want them to be entertaining and a bit more realistic. I don’t want to see Tatum putting up with continued idiotic decisions newcomer Alex Pettyfer makes, and be expected to believe he wouldn’t have just kicked him to the curb. Instead, I’m supposed to believe that he just hands (comedian) Gabriel Iglesias and some thugs his life savings to help him out of his latest jam.

I read about another made-for-TV movie called For Ladies Only from 1981, that dealt with a stripper that wasn’t a furniture maker, but an actor doing that to make a living. His best friend became a drug addict. I’m not sure if that movie also had the goofy side story this had; Tatum constantly trying to win over the sister, who wants nothing to do with him. I’m also not sure how audiences are expected to root for Tatum to win her over (is there ever any doubt?). After all, he uses Olivia Munn as a booty call who gets upset when he finds out she’s engaged.

As I looked at all these hairless chests prancing around on stage (and my mind went to the scene of Steve Carell waxing his in 40-Year-Old Virgin)…I wondered why all these guys had girlfriends/groupies at parties. You’re telling me not one of those guys was gay? Should we go to a real male strip club and check the stats on that? Not to mention the fact that there were many homoerotic moments, including one shoot-out scene on stage where the two men pretend to almost kiss each other before one shoots the other dead.

As I watched Matthew McConaghey play bongos on stage, slap his bare chest and butt, and talk at women in a stoned voice – I wondered if he is ever going to have another role where he’s not playing himself.

This movie peters out early (okay, that pun was intended) and I would’ve left half way into it. The only reason I didn’t was because I had somewhere to be in MissionValley an hour later.

Rent Boogie Nights instead of watching this, unless you’re at a bachelorette party with a bunch of tipsy women that will have fun yelling at the screen.

I’m giving this ½ a star because it was well-shot, and they used the Kiss song Calling Dr. Love, instead of a cliché song like You Can Leave Your Hat On (they did use It’s Raining Men a few times, so I should probably strip it of the half star).

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