Movie Review: “Magic Mike” – Skimpy Clothes, Skimpier Plot

Written by Emily McWilliams July 02, 2012

You probably won’t believe me when I say that my reasons for wanting to see “Magic Mike” were not watching Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, and Joe Manganiello gyrate and take off their clothes.  I was actually more interested in director Steven Soderbergh, and more specifically why this Oscar winning director and critically acclaimed filmmaker known for gritty crime movies would want to direct a film about male strippers.  I thought (naively) that perhaps with Soderbergh at the helm, this film would offer some more some substance than the trailer lead me to believe.  Maybe Soderbergh was returning to his erotic and dark humour roots with this movie.  Unfortunately, it looks like “Magic Mike” should do a disappearing act from Soderbergh’s filmography because this movie is a new career-low for the director.

Construction Worker By Day, Stripper By Night.. I Like Where This Is Going

The film’s plot, while simple, was overly dragged out.  Mike (Tatum) is working multiple jobs: construction during the day and stripping at night while saving to start a custom furniture business of his own.  Mike meets Adam (or “The Kid” as they call him, played by Pettyfer) on a construction site and seeing his potential, decides to introduce him to the world of male stripping. Adam is instantly intoxicated with the late night lifestyle that includes lots of cash, drugs, and of course, women. Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), is not impressed with her brother’s new career, and after talking to her, Mike begins to question his own choices.  As Adam begins replacing Mike as the club’s top dancer, and with a venue relocation to Miami, Mike needs to decide what kind of life he wants to live and whether that involves continuing to strip.

Hey, At Least It’s Cheaper Than a Real Night on the Town

I’m not going to lie – the best scenes in the movie were the ones that involved stripping.  In between the drawn out scenes of dialogue, wooden acting, and sub-plots involving drug deals gone wrong, at least the stripping scenes were entertaining.  Watching the well-known, (and let’s be honest) toned and sculpted cast perform choreographed dance routines while wearing some creatively revealing costumes, were the scenes with the most energy and the most enjoyable to watch.

Soderbergh Tries To Remind Us That He’s a Real Filmmaker, and Fails

The biggest problem with this movie was that there was this weird tension between the film that was advertised – a raunchy, sexy rom-com, with not too much of a plot and fewer clothes – and the moments where this film attempted to be a serious drama with Mike questioning his future. Overall, it just didn’t work in the execution, which is disappointing because all stripper jokes aside, the main premise could have had some potential. Besides the show scenes, some of the best parts of the movie were getting an inside look at the industry while the dancers got ready and put as much effort into their looks as contestants in the Miss Universe pageants.  This movie could have been the updated “Boogie Nights” but instead fell flat because of the stilted plot and dialogue.

“Magic Mike” Doesn’t Bring The Summer Heat

If you’re looking for a fun, silly movie for a girl’s (or guy’s) night out, “Magic Mike” does offer that, but not much else.  If you’re a fan of Soderbergh’s other films, do not give “Magic Mike” a try unless you are prepared to be severely disappointed.

My Rating: 5/10

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