Willie Waffle is the movie critic for people who hate movie critics.

Magic Mike - Making Men Self-Conscious About Their Bodies - Review

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magicmikeposter.jpgIt is the confluence of beefcake that has been building for two generations!  Any movie that puts two titans of smooth, shaved chests like The Amazingly Shirtless Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum and his Abs of Steel on a collision course risks putting a rift into the Time-Space Continuum as the two shake their moneymakers until the ladies scream out their approval and swoon into a puddle of sexual desire.  Yep.  I am a little jealous (and feeling slightly self-conscious about my body).

Tatum stars as Magic Mike - a hardworking entrepreneur who runs a car detailing service, builds custom furniture, and finds employment as a male stripper at the hottest club in Tampa.  Of course, he is just stripping to make some extra cash to make his dreams come true, but Magic Mike is very good at it, too.

One day, Mike meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), and sees some sort of quality in the kid that might make him successful in the booty shaking biz.   Of course, this starts a wild ride as Adam learns how to be a stripper, Mike takes a shine to his older sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), and the club's owner, Dallas (McConaughey), plans to make a big move to Miami and promises the guys he will take care of them.

This movie is so cheesy and beefy they ought to sell it at Taco Bell.

Magic Mike does benefit from that cheesy appeal (and the obvious beefy appeal for the ladies), but it's not enough to sustain the entire film nor make it any good.  

Director Steven Soderbergh attempts to give the film some sort of improvisational or reality TV feeling to make us think we are behind the scenes like another character in the movie, but it needs more structure and traditional storytelling to make it compelling.  As it is, writer Reid Carolin and Soderbergh make Magic Mike too loose.  We wander from scene to scene trying to take in the vibe, but the film has a monotone feel that doesn't build to any stunning climax or moment of great emotion.  It starts off fun enough, but doesn't deliver when it's time to get serious.  The commercials on TV have more energy and magic in them than the actual movie.    

You can't blame the entire cast for that.  Tatum has a likable charm as the guy trying to overcome perceptions and prejudices against dudes in his business, and I like how they designed the character to be a guy who thinks he has the world by the nose, but finds out it might be the other way around.  At the risk of repeating myself, Tatum may never be an Oscar winner, but he can hold his own and carry a movie when given the opportunity.    

Also, this is the role McConaughey has been training for his entire career.  I half expected him to announce his retirement after this movie just because he could never again achieve this level of shirtlessness.  It is the perfect mix of campy and melodramatic (and shirtlessness), giving him a chance to display that Texas charm.  Whether he has Dallas flirting with the ladies at the club or trying to tell the strippers who is boss, this is everything McConaughey does right.  Magic Mike needed more of his attitude.
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However, Horn almost single-handedly ruins most of Magic Mike.   She is flat, lacks any dynamism and comes off like some person who accidentally wandered onto the set.  Even at times when Brooke is supposed to be getting upset or laying down the law to Mike, it's hard to take her seriously.  Sure, saying all of this might get me banned from the screening of The Dark Knight Rises, but it has to be said.  When co-star Olivia Munn is out-acting you, it is time to reconsider your career pursuits.  

Magic Mike should have been some late night offering on SkinaMax.  And, I want a cut of the Taco Bell marketing deal if they start selling the DVDs at their stores.  

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1 Waffle (Out of 4)

Magic Mike is rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use