Now while I have to admit I had a lot of fun finding the image for this particular review, I have to clear one thing up, Magic Mike is not just about naked guys. Now a lot of my friends have made fun of this movie, a lot of my friends wanted to see this movie but next to no one I know took this movie seriously. Nearly everyone thought it would be a cheesy romp about guys waving their crotches in peoples faces.
One person who did take this movie seriously is Channing Tatum. Magic Mike is based on Channing Tatum’s experiences when he was 19 years old working as a stripper in Tampa. Channing pitched the idea to serious director Stephen Soderbergh and financed the film along with Soderbergh. Soderbergh is famous for his breakout film ‘Sex, Lies and Videotape’ with Uma Thurman in the 1980s and has since then directed films like Oceans Eleven, Erin Brochovich and The Girlfriend Experience. Now for those of you who don’t know what co financing means, it means that Channing put up a 3.5 million dollars of his own money half of the 7 million dollar budget of this film.
That means that Channing Tatum whose individual worth is 14 million put up a fair chunk of his change betting that his film would do well. And while not many of my friends may be taking this film seriously a lot of people are going to see it. To date Magic Mike has grossed 110 Million dollars at the American box office and who knows what overseas which means that Channing Tatum will be raking in over 50 Million dollars in pure profit. Are you taking the film seriously now? Channing Tatum has been in 3 films this year the other two being ‘The Vow’ and ’21 Jump St’ both have which have earned more that 125 million dollars. All I can say is ‘damn that kid is having a good year’.
Now some of you might argue that commercial success is not reason to take a film seriously. In fact some might say that the reason the film has done so well is because of all the beautiful naked men in it and while I’m sure the lure of Joe Manganiello was part of its success I think the reason it has been such a big hit is because it is also a great film.
Magic Mike is the stripper name of Mike Lane a 30 year old entrepreneur who has a number of shady cash businesses. All in the name of making money towards his custom furniture business. A dream of his since he was a kid, Mike has saved up 13 thousand dollars to put towards the cause. His most lucrative job is as the star attraction of an all male revue at Club Xquisite .
Enter Adam ‘The Kid’ played by Alex Pettyfer a 19 year old lost boy who has walked out on his football scholarship, because of his hard partying ways and is living with his sister Brooke. He has just been fired from his low paying construction job and is bored to death with everyone and their demands for him to live a responsible life. Running into Mike trying to escape his sister’s boring boyfriend on a night out, they develop a bromance and Mike introduces Adam to Xquisite. There is an emergency when one of the strippers passes out from too much booze so Mike has the brilliant idea of sending Adam out to lose his stripping virginity and after a successful run, he joins the crew.
The drugs, the girls and the self destruction, the world of male stripping is not all abs and baby oil and while the Kid is loving his new life a little too much Mike has his eye on a better life and a better class of girl and that’s where Brooke comes in. Magic Mike is simple story extremely well told. The look of the film is both grungy and sexy while the characters are very well drawn. Particularly Mike and Adam, Channing brings a wonderful vulnerability to this role which is a pleasure to watch.
But my favorite character in this film is Brooke. In a world full of sexy abs with no brains or morals, she brings a sense of integrity and honesty to the story. In a role that could have easily been over acted Cody Horn, brought just the right mix of sexy and real to the table and broke my heart with her amazing raw emotion. The dialogue and acting in the last couple of scenes between her and Channing was world class.
Hilariously funny but crushingly honest, what make this film so great is it’s authenticity. While women might be flocking to the cinema to see Channing shirtless, what they are getting is a real story. Sure that story is about male stripping but doesn’t make it any less valuable or worth seeing. So if you thought this film was dumb and just a run on from the stupidity that is ’50 Shades of Grey’, think again Magic Mike, is quality and I don’t just mean the abs.