MOVIE MADNESS #96: MAGIC MIKE

Channing Tatum has never been one to shy away from his male stripper past. When he was coming up the entertainment industry food chain, Tatum worked as a stripper at clubs in Florida. Pictures and videos of his old routine have leaked onto the web but unlike other stars Tatum didn’t shy away.

I remember a couple years back I wrote a story on Tatum for a television program and I found sources talking about his stripper life.

My editor at the time didn’t believe that this to be true but always liked the more controversial angle.

So the story made it into the show and not long after Tatum announced he was developing a movie based on his experience as a stripper. Well that is my personal connection to the story of Magic Mike.

So what really is all the hoopla surrounding this movie? A movie like this has the potential to be another “Boogie Nights”. Sadly three things went wrong for it to even come close to that classic movie.

“Magic Mike” stars Channing Tatum as Mike, a 30-year-old stripper with the best years behind him.

He thinks he has it all together and a plan of opening a custom furniture business post-stripping.

While working construction between stripping gigs, Mike bumps into Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a day laborer hired off Craig’s List. Mike introduces Adam to the world of stripping and sees himself in “the kid”. So Mike gets really excited when his mentor Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) sees tons of potential in Adam.

Enveloped by the limelight and with Dallas’s thrust dancing logic, Adam becomes a hit. But like all success stories in the world of strippers, rock n roll and porn, the dark side creeps in and destroys our hero.

The movie has a really super simple plot and has the most perfect beefcake cast for this subject matter so why is it so damn dull? The answer is director Steven Soderbergh.

Soderbergh has lost his ability to take control of a situation and actually shoot a film to accent the story.

Now he shoots movies so they look like Soderbergh films and well this flashy, controversial, sexy and raunchy subject matter needed a director with more style.

Soderbergh uses so many flat cuts, pops and drags that I felt it was amateur hour. It was like this veteran was trying to shoot the movie the way he used to just after “Sex, Lies and Videotape” and they just don’t make films like that anymore.

Also Soderbergh has absolutely no idea where to put the camera when shooting the men on stage.

He always shoots from the stage looking out. How are we supposed to be taken in by the allure and craziness of this profession if we are seeing it from a stagehand’s perspective?

That episode of “Married with Children” where Peg Bundy goes to the strip club was way more entertaining than this flick!!

There also seems to be problems with how much of the male anatomy do you show? Don’t be squeamish be raw like the subject matter. If you are shooting a movie about male strippers, you don’t have your opening shot of Olivia Munn’s breasts. Also you with this subject matter you do need that awkward changing room scene where it is wall-to-wall sausages. You need that shot for shock value but also to remind the audience what these guys do for a living!

The best performance of the piece is the out-of-control Matthew McConaughey. His character is priceless and I wish the movie was centered around him. Tatum is solid as the lead. Alex Pettyfer is extremely dull as usual. And well the others are just beefcake.

If I was female I would have been vastly disappointed with this film. But maybe not as being a big movie fan. This movie just fails as a movie.

1.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

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