Magic Mike — For Real This Time

July 13, 2012 § 8 Comments

As we walked out of the downtown theater after seeing Magic Mike, my friend Dia said, “I’m disappointed. I wanted less story, more stripping.”

“What?” My brain short-circuited a little bit. I’m a writer. Saying you want less story is like saying you want less love. “The story was great—you didn’t like the story?” I get a little babbly when I’m thrown for a loop.

“No, it was a good story. But I wanted more. More naked men.”

Okay, I know we’d waited two long weeks to see Magic Mike, but come on. There was plenty of footage of beautiful male flesh and muscle to be enjoyed. That opening scene when Channing Tatum gets out of the bed and walks to the bathroom. Ohh, yeahh. That and many other scenes I can replay in my mind over and over. For weeks to come. So, anyway, you don’t throw out the story.

“I loved the story,” I said. “It made me think of that movie All About Eve.”

“What’s that?”

“Oh, this old movie starring Bette Davis and Anne Baxter. It’s this whole student surpassing the master thing—”

I never got a chance to finish explaining my comparison of the modern male stripper movie to the 1950 Academy Award-winning classic, because right then a car full of punk-asses cruised by and sprayed us with water. Right in front of the theater. And right in front of two cops who just kept carrying on their conversation as if nothing had happened.

“Thanks for looking out,” I tossed over my shoulder in the cops’ general direction. Not to their faces. I didn’t want to spend the night in jail.

“Maybe we should try a different movie theater next time,” said Dia.

Duly noted. I sure can’t wait for the IMAX to open at Winrock.

So back to the movie.

The reason it reminds me of All About Eve is that it’s about a star performer, (Mike, played by Channing Tatum) who takes a clueless kid (Adam, played by Alex Pettyfer) under his wing, and is forced to re-evaluate his own path and the company he keeps. (In All About Eve, a Broadway diva takes on a young assistant and learns she is not what she seems). In Magic Mike, the star finds out that not everyone is as nice as he is, and that he can’t just share his heart and soul with anyone.

For Mike, being a male stripper is an easy, ego-boosting way to make money (and he sure can move that body). It’s one of the jobs he holds down to save enough money for a loan to start his own business. Mike is generous, with a great sense of humor and joie de vivre, and is talented at winning people over. It’s learning to tell the genuine friends from the fake friends that he must master.

The dialogue was funny, witty, rhythmic, the kind of dialogue I could listen to over and over, memorize, and absorb. It even had its share of great throwaway lines. In what seemed like a direct barb at the recent Fifty Shades of Grey-inspired rage for spankings and bondage, the troupe’s manager, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) suggests the guys do an S&M number, and the Matt Bomer character declines, saying he doesn’t want to bring any negative energy into his act.

While the guys in the movie are not just chauvinistic, conceited jerks, the girls are not brainless bimbos, either. The female lead, Adam’s protective older sister, Brooke, is the perfect foil for Mike. She’s tomboyishly pretty, level-headed, responsible, and takes no crap. She and Mike first meet when Mike drops Adam off at the apartment after a night of strippin’, and Mike mentions breakfast. She colorfully states that she doesn’t make breakfast. Mike’s amused response sets the tone for the rest of their relationship.

When this movie gets released on DVD, I will be at Target that very Tuesday to buy it.  Not just for the hot men. For the story.

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§ 8 Responses to Magic Mike — For Real This Time

  • Andrew King says:

    As one of the few men on the planet who has seen this movie, due mostly to the fact it was directed by Steven Soderbergh, I have to say I would agree that this movie was surprisingly substantial. It actually reminded me a lot of Boogie Nights, which had a very similar plot in many ways. All and all, it was a pretty solid and good film, although I enjoyed it for a very different reason then everyone else it would seem.

    • Shannon says:

      From all the comments I see on Facebook and Twitter, I appear to be in the minority, too, in my reason for liking this movie. A lot of women are like, oh, man, it actually had a real plot. I’m like, yeah, it had a real plot, isn’t that a good thing??

  • Emma says:

    I have to get my ass to the cinema pronto to see this, and I’m glad it has a storyline and stripping 🙂

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