Welcome to The Mundane Adventures of a Fangirl

I consider myself a Fangirl. What does that mean, you ask? A "fanboy" in the most common understanding is a hardcore fan of 'genre' based entertainment in particular. In my case - science-fiction and comic book based movies and television. Because I'm a chick - it's fangirl, not fanboy. There you have it! I am a big movie fan, however, not necessarily a 'film' fan. And now - I have the forum to present my opinions to the public! These will mainly be movie reviews -that will always be my opinion - repeat OPINION. Just what I think, and in no way do I present my opinion as fact. I hope you enjoy and maybe it will help you decide what to see at the movie theater this weekend!

Monday, July 2, 2012

Movie Review: Magic Mike (R - 110 minutes)

There are many movie that heavily feature female strippers.  I'm not going to bother mentioning them, I'm sure you've already named a few in your head (Showgirls, Striptease, etc.)  As a straight female movie fan, I'm subjected to all of these with very few male stripper movies.  Up to this point, the only other male stripper-focused movie I can think of is The Full Monty, which was British and charming and fun. 

It did not feature the full monty, which seems to be a trend in male stripper movies (all two of them), because in Magic Mike, there is no full monty either.  There are more tits than dicks in Magic Mike, which seems unfair.  There is plenty of beautiful man candy to oogle, and I suppose that will do. 
Steven Soderbergh's last team-up with Channing Tatum was Haywire, from earlier this year.  It featured real-life MMA star Gina Carano, and while her acting was suspect, the action was not, and the movie was very good.  If you haven't seen it, check it out - it will be available to rent soon.
Haywire, while an impressive action movie, was also very much a Steven Soderbergh movie.  It's most similar to one of his other features, Out of Sight.  He features very stylized scenes, interesting score choices, and the use of color as a storytelling device.  This was most evident in his movie Traffic, which used different shades of color to show where each scene was taking place.  It's also very good, and I recommend that as well.  Soderbergh is perhaps best known for the Ocean's movies (11,12, and 13), which up to this point, had been his most fun;  not anymore.  Magic Mike is officially the most over the top fun Soderbergh movie, while still remaining a Soderbergh movie.
Magic Mike is written by Reid Carolin (who shows up in the movie as Tall Paul) who had previously worked with Channing Tatum on the MTV produced Stop/Loss.  Channing had been a male stripper earlier in his life and had been very vocal about wanting to do a movie loosely based on his experiences.  He was vocal enough on the Haywire set that Soderbergh decided to do it. 
While I am the target audience for this movie, and I was lucky enough to see it in a theater that was completely full of screaming women (made it so much fun!), it actually will appeal to a much wider audience.  There is a storyline, and it is predictible, but well done. 
Tatum's character is a hustler - working three jobs to save up enough money to get his custom-made furniture business up and running.  He meets a youngster on his construction job who is in need of money and guidance.  Mike takes him to the strip club, and due to one of the other dancers passing out - throws the kid on stage, where he quickly becomes hooked on the lifestyle.  Mike looks to begin a romance with the kid's older sister, who brings some reality into his life and makes him question his life choices.  Things start off good, then they get great - then there's some serious drama and things get terrible, then they get okay again by the end, and everyone learns a little something.  Predictable - but okay.
As far as casting goes, I was pretty pleased with almost everyone in the movie. 
  • I have always disliked Matthew McConaughey, and while he's really good as sleezy club owner Dalls, I would have prefered Idris Elba in that role...but then again, I'd prefer him in almost anything.  There is an amusing sequence in which McConaughey does play the bongos.
  • Channing Tatum is very good in this.  Just like he was in Haywire, and 21 Jump Street, and the Vow.  Welcome to the year of the Tatum.  I should at some point, stop being surprised that he's a decent actor.  He's very natural and believable on screen, and the dancing?  Amazing.  He choreographed most of the numbers with some help from Luke Broadlick, who also worked on the StepUp films.
  • Olivia Munn shows up and is actually pretty good in this - she's most well known for her work on G4, and she does steal a couple of scenes in this.  Oh - and if you're a dude, she's topless within the first 4 minutes, so there's that. 
  • Alex Pettyfer plays the young wide-eyed kid, in a bit of a departure from what we've seen him do in I Am Number 4, Beastly, and In Time.  I liked him the best in In Time, where he got to speak with his own british accent and be a little villiany - which I think he might be better at.  His american accent is not great and slips a couple of times, but he looks good during the dance numbers.
  • Speaking of looking good during the dance numbers, the rest of the male revue is Joe Magnaniello (True Blood, Spider Man), Matt Bomer (White Collar), Alex Rodriguez (CSI Miami), and Kevin "Big Sexy" Nash (what?  second movie in a month he's popped up in).  I know Nash's knees are shot from the years of wrestling, but it is very obvious that he is not doing any of the dance sequences!  Also - he's been gray for the last 10 years, are we supposed to buy that dye job?  Aside from that, he was fun and natural in the part.  Bomer is super pretty and a decent dancer, but Rodriguez suprised me the most on the dancing - he was pretty good!  Joe Magnaniello plays "Big Dick Ritchie" and is really good looking and a decent dancer.  All the guys were underdeveloped as characters, but they weren't really important, so I suppose that's okay.
  • Stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias pops up as the DJ/promoter for the club and is actually pretty good.  His specials are streaming on Netflix, and if you haven't seen his stand-up, check it out, he's hilarious! 
  • Cody Horn plays the love interest and is passable.  She's the daughter of WB CEO Alan Horn, so whether or not she got into the business on merit is debatable, but she's believable as Pettyfer's older sister, who is into Mike, but wants him to be realistic about himself with his decisions and lifestyle choices.
  • Riley Keough has maybe two scenes and is forgettable - I'm only mentioning her because she's Elvis's granddaughter.
The movie is very entertaining, the dance sequences are great - especially Channing's individual moments.  The story is good, if predictable, and everyone performs well.  Stylistically, it is very much a Soderbergh piece: scenes that are not in the club are washed out color-wise, and dramatic scenes are very static.
All in all - see it, you'll be pleasantly surprised! 
7 out of 10:  lost points for all the tits - I'm tired of seeing tits!  It's a movie about male strippers!  Why were there more tits than dicks in it?  Gained points for the dance sequences - yay!  Lost points for the odd choice of camera angles during the hard partying - weird.  Gained points for Manganiello, ahem, 'prepping' to go onstage - hilarious!
Bonus Video 1:  Channing in Step Up - he's quite a dancer - also - married his costar from that movie.
Step Up 2:
Bonus Video 2:  Ricky Martin's "She Bangs"  Channing is the shirtless bartender:
Bonus Video 3:  Cast and Crew Interviews!

No comments:

Post a Comment