Saturday, 11 August 2012

Movie review: Magic Mike

One of my closest friends is getting married next month. As part of her pre-marriage celebrations it was decided that a collection of females should get together for a film-bonding experience. The film of choice was one wedding-related but we missed

So on the bride-to-be’s suggestion we opted for the next best thing: half-naked men. Yes, last night I went to see Magic Mike

Magic Mike is inspired by star Channing Tatum’s previous life as a male stripper. It’s pretty lazy on the notion of plot-line and the drama / conflict feels so token. It’s as if the film makers decided they couldn’t really make a movie that was 1.5 hours of stripping, so they threw in the easiest, most obvious ‘conflict’ they could muster. Conflict enters story, provides ‘drama’, conflict leaves. Subplot: dealt with. 

Really though, this film is about men getting naked and ‘fulfilling the dreams’ of their under-sexed female clientele.  The dance / strip scenes are what makes this movie worth seeing and there are some genuinely spectacular moves on display. Tatum in particular is a true performer who relishes his turns on stage. There is a great scene of Matthew McConaughey instructing the latest recruit on the art of hip-grinding to achieve maximum frenzy in the audience.  

 Oh god, no.

In the world of Magic Mike the men are young (ish), good looking gym-junkies. They tease and flirt with their audience, bringing that cheekiness and boyishness to the performance that women can’t get enough of. 

Magic Mike was a lot better than I was expecting it to be, but that might have something to do with my spectacularly low expectations. Channing Tatum is believable, if not overly endowed in the facial expressions department. Personally I found young-gun Alex Pettyfer a much more appealing looker. McConaughey is fabulous as a strutting peacock of a strip club owner who loves his business and everything that goes along with it. I didn’t ‘get’ the love interest (Cody Horn) though she was the only character you felt any empathy with.
The boys strutting their stuff on stage.

Now, I am no strip-show aficionado. I have been to four. One in a pub on a Sunday afternoon (NOT classy), Love and Rockets for a friend’s birthday, the Australian Burlesque Festival (sexy, fabulous) and finally one harrowing trip to Aussie Thunder for a Hen’s night in 2010. Aussie Thunder was awful. Truly awful. The men were all older, tanned orange and had as much sexy appeal as a over-used spatula. Hens were picked on and humped. I had my hands forcibly rubbed against sweaty thunder thighs. There was not enough soap for me that night. So I have only been to one male strip show and while I have no objection to the concept, the experience was off-putting. 

So I struggled to reconcile my bad experiences of a male strip show with the young, raunchy, leather-whipped and attitude-riddled world portrayed in Magic Mike. Maybe these shows do exist somewhere in the world, it just ain’t here. 

Go see Magic Mike if you like abs, Channing Tatum or Matthew McConaughey or transparent plot lines. I’m not keen on any of those things, so most of this film didn’t ‘do it’ for me. It was the dance sequences and my giggling female companions that made it a good night out. I may not fall for rippled abs but I go weak at the knees for a man with moves.

Go see it for a fun time and be sure to have a drink in the cinema.

If you want to see real beautiful men take their clothes off and impress you with their skill, buy a ticket to Briefs next time they’re in town. 

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