Tuesday, August 14, 2012

REVIEW: Magic Mike (2012)

I can hear very clearly even with earplugs the question burning the tongues of everyone who noticed my having watched a male-stripper movie: Why did I want to? The answer is just as obvious. Because it's a small-budget Steven Soderberg movie (ergo inevitably interesting) and it has tangerine-skinned hasbeen Matthew McConaughey in the most self-reflecting role since Kristen Stewart played a depressing klutz who wishes to become a soulless bloodsucker.

Yes, the male anatomy-lessons scenes are plenty, but uncomfortable only to those who think they can compete with someone who makes tens of millions a year and can afford an army of trainers and plastic surgeons to make them look like they makes tens of millions a year and can afford an army of trainers and plastic surgeons. If that movie had been handled by anyone south of some artistic competence, you'd have a strip show and about 15 minutes worth of story-telling. But in the hands of Sod the camera tends to get a life on its owns and the cinematography itself becomes a character as much as a storyteller. in this case, it turns a fluff piece into a diary into the probably-uncomfortable memory of its main star who also wrote the darn thing based on nothing short of his probably-uncomfortable memory.

James Bond: The Series, coming soon to Cinemax

I have to admit I can understand the jealous disposition of people who call Channing Tatum the second worst actor on the planet next to Taylor Lautner. Yet you can't ignore the fact that his ecclectic choice of roles made for a fast rise and a brilliant career strategy, which here reaches the next level with an involvement as screenwriter, producer, choreographer and star. And no, he doesn't suck, he plays his self-reflecting character almost as well as McConaughey who embodies a 45-year old stripper who's just as pathetic as he's aggressively shallow.

The weak point of the exercise, unsurprisingly, is Alex Pettyfer who, for reasons passing my understanding, is still getting work despite a nasty reputation and the undeniably proven inability to carry a movie in any way. He scored flop over flop since his premature debut and each time was partly (or mostly) to blame. In a way he does fit the bill perfectly, playing a brainless bozo with a knack for creating a mess wherever he goes and who inevitably bites the hand that fed him. If it wasn't for Tatum's onscreen charisma and Mac's semi-revisiting of the Wooderson persona, even Soderberg wouldn't have been able to save Pettyfer from himself. Somebody PLEASE cast this guy in movie starring Kristen Stewart and Hayden Christensen, I'll gladly pay IMAX fare to see that!

"Dude, if Rupert Sanders can hit that, so can you!"

Kudos to Joe Manganiello who takes a virtually silent supporting role and makes it a quasi show-stealer, and  to whomever put the soundtrack together. All in all an interesting, quick paced dramatic comedy that's worth the Little Movie That Could status it garnered this summer (over $50M in profits on a $7M budget), and worth seeing even for guys; if it helps in any way to remain feeling manly, the opening scene features a lingering, full frontal shot of Olivia Munn's fun bags.

Final Word: 7.5/10

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