Magic Mike
October 23, 2012

Due to my move, I had missed seeing Magic Mike in theaters, so I was thrilled to check it out on home video. It’s available today on Blu-ray, DVD, or digital download. Superheroes just don’t do it for me when it comes to attractive, buff men in tight-fitting clothing, since unlike this movie, they don’t take the female gaze into account. (Plus, I could pause or rewind as much as I liked.)

There is a lot more to this movie than just sexy men, although the first two scenes feature Matthew McConaughey (the club owner) groping himself and then Channing Tatum’s naked butt as he wakes up with two women. (The one who gets to talk is Olivia Munn.)

Mike (Tatum) meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer) at a construction job and introduces the new guy (called “The Kid”, cause he’s 19) to the world of stripping. Mike comes off as the coolest big brother you never had, always knowing what to say or do, and he even has dreams of making his own artsy furniture. Unfortunately, things take a downward turn, as the stripping lifestyle doesn’t provide much of a future.

The audio, typical of many modern movies, fluctuates enough between the dance sequences and the conversations that you’ll want to keep the remote at hand to adjust the volume. The visuals are sharp and quite attractive, and that’s why we’re watching the movie, right? The guys’ acts range from construction worker to Ken doll to Tarzan to soldiers and cowboys to simple gyrations all over the stage. Matt Bomer’s a bit stiff, Joe Manganiello seems dark, Kevin “Diesel” Nash is huge, and Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami) is surprisingly good.

Check out these movie clips:

I found the details about the job surprisingly interesting, from the dance training to the costume (thong) selection. The Kid’s sister Brooke (Cody Horn) objects to the occupation, representing the voice of the normal folks, as well as providing the love interest.

Then there’s Tatum. He’s quite a dancer, and between this and 21 Jump Street, I’m really beginning to appreciate him as an actor as well. He’s great with comedy without losing emotional depth, and he’s willing to do a lot for the laugh. A scene where he shows up in drag for a birthday greeting shows that.

Warner provided this slide show, heavy on the images of shirtless men and their macho fantasy roles:

Magic Mike takes a job that’s a joke for a lot of people and does a good job showing its ins and outs, sharing the experience for those who would have never dreamed of thinking more about it. Sure, those who find it unusual or daring to see this much man-flesh on display in a Hollywood movie will get what they’re looking for, but there’s a story behind the visuals. (And I’m not putting down those who enjoy it just for the sexy men. It’s rare to see that kind of portrayal in a mainstream film, and it’s something of a breakthrough that this movie was so successful, providing more examples to decision-makers that they should make movies for more than just teenage boys.)

Underneath it all, it’s a “be careful what you wish for” tale, one that shows the downside to sexy club antics as well as capturing their excitement. You probably gathered that a stripper’s life, whether male or female, wasn’t built on a long-term career or smart choices, but the film makes its case for the story being something worth your time to watch.

Some have complained that we don’t know enough about what happens to these characters after the movie ends, but I think that’s part of the point. Those left behind will be doing the same things we’ve already seen them doing. Unless they choose something different, their lives continue in the same repetitive groove.

Special Features

The Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with the Blu-ray, the DVD, and an UltraViolet copy of the film. The extras are:

  • Backstage on Magic Mike, a seven-minute behind-the-scenes featurette. (It’s also on the DVD as its only extra.) The guys talk about the dancing, including the work of choreographer Alison Faulk; the audience; and how great a performer Tatum is. The costume designer Christopher Peterson is hilarious when he talks about working with the tearaway pants.
  • Dance Play Mode, which runs all the dance sequences and montages one after the other, for viewers who only want to see those bits. It’s about 18 1/2 minutes.
  • Extended Dance Scenes, longer versions of three sequences from the movie adding up to nine minutes.

There’s also a lengthy (almost six minutes) trailer for the upcoming Cloud Atlas, which shows off some astounding visuals and makes the film look intriguing (instead of confusing, which is the impression the print descriptions left). But that’s after the pointless two-minute “Blu-ray is awesome” ad. Is this just to reassure watchers of the Blu-ray that they did the right thing in spending the extra money?

Overall, this movie makes for a great rental, unless you want to see the guys over and over again, in which case the Blu-ray makes it much easier for you. (The studio provided a review copy.)

4 Responses  
Liz writes:  

This was a great review. I went to see the movie with my Mom because she’s a big Matt Bomer fan, but I did find his performance a little cold. Because of you, I now think Channing Tatum is more than a hunk of meat.

I miss you!

Johanna writes:  

Thanks! Wasn’t Bomer perfect as the Ken doll, though? I miss you too. Email coming today.

Richard J. Marcej writes:  

I’m currently reading “Cloud Atlas” and I can understand how a description of the film would be confusing. It’s actually six separate novella’s with the first five split into two parts. You’re halfway through the first and it ends in mid sentence and goes right into the second, that goes right into the third, etc… After you read the complete sixth story you pick up back into the fifth, then the third, etc…

Geez, just reading my description of the book I’m confused! I’m really curious to see how they’ll film this thing.

Rob Barrett writes:  

What I loved best about Magic Mike was Soderbergh’s more or less unironic use of backstage musical structure.


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