I will never hear Kiss’ “Calling Dr. Love” the same way again.
“Magic Mike” (Channing Tatum) is the star attraction at Xquisite, an all male revue in Tampa, Florida. His youth and his dance skills have made him the most popular dancer amongst the crew, and a he’s the favored son of the club owner, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Mike is living large. He has a sweet pad, a nice ride, and all the ladies he could want. Mike and Dallas both have aspirations… Mike has been saving his sweaty singles in order to begin his own custom furniture business, and Dallas has been working towards opening a new club in Miami.
When Mike introduces a new dancer to the club, things begin to take a turn. “The Kid” (Alex Pettyfer) is young and inexperienced, but the ladies like that. In need of fresh blood, Dallas begins to train the Kid in how to work it for the women. At first, Magic Mike takes him under his wing as well, but it’s not long before the Kid is vying for the club’s top spot, and causing difficulties with his out of control behavior. That causes extra problems for Mike, as he’s actually begun to develop feelings for the Kid’s sister (Cody Horn).
The education of “The Kid” is the audience’s gain. While Dallas and Mike teach the kid the ropes, the male stripper lifestyle is on display in all it’s ludicrous, comical glory. Pills, pumps, g-strings, it’s all there. The choreographed theme dances, the flashy solo numbers, the up-close and personal gyrating, all there. The rewards are screaming women, ready cash and a constant stream of one night stands. Early on, “Magic Mike” keeps the good times rolling, cleverly juggling the stripping, the comedy and the party scenes.
The stars of the show are Tatum and McConaughey. Tatum dances up a storm and does some ridiculous things with his female clientele. He busts out the “Step Up” dance moves and the “21 Jump Street” comedy chops alternately. But he’s completely upstaged by Matthew McConaughey. I thought Wooderson had my personal title of favorite McConaughey character locked down for life, but now I’m not so sure. His “Dallas” is so completely hysterical. He has a major amount of screen time, and every time he shows up, he completely owns the screen. He preens and struts and works the women in the crowd into a frenzy with his drawling introductions. If they do a sequel to this movie, and revolve it around Dallas, I am there. LOL
It’s not all good news for “Magic Mike”, though, unfortunately. The romance between Mike and Brooke (Cody Horn) is practically a subplot, and not a good one. There’s barely any chemistry and what chemistry there is boils down to “She calls him on his shit”. Also, right around the midpoint of the film, “Mike” begins to take itself seriously. Soderbergh puts the price of the lifestyle on display. The drugs begin to take their toll, suspect choices begin to have repercussions, and of course, relationships fall apart. It’s not that it’s not well done, it’s just not the best place for the movie to choose to go. You could feel the energy drain out of the crowd. Til then the movie had been comedic and energetic… fun. The direction it chooses to take is akin to slamming the brakes on.
But it’s not enough to derail the movie entirely. On the balance, “Magic Mike” is a fun, funny flick… for most of its runtime at least.