Friday, June 29, 2012

Got To Believe In Magic (Film Review:Magic Mike)

There was no way anyone could stop me from watching "Magic Mike" on its first day. And I knew I would enjoy it, though I was unsure how. Would I like it on a shallow level (beefcake), or will it be camp, or perhaps I would enjoy it as a piece of cinema? And so, I did enjoy myself a lot, because it is a very entertaining movie, a morality tale that never becomes too preachy. Essentially, it is a classic Hollywood American Dream formula film. Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) works multiple jobs, but he really wants to be a custom furniture maker. He stumbles upon a protege, "The Kid," and we see him mentor the kid, and show him the ropes to make it big. There's nothing really fresh in the screenplay, but we still are emotionally invested, mostly from the great acting from the cast, especially Tatum. I now realize that Tatum epitomizes the great modern actor of our times: effortless, relatable, unpretentious, real. In every movie I have seen him, he is always different, always distinct, always effective. Here he is the cocky stripper with the heart of gold, the mentor who comes through.  He is the heart of the movie, the one who grows up, the one who carries the same heart heavily, and the one who wraps it all up in the end. The rest of the cast shines, too - Matthew McConaughey is perfect in the Mother Den/Pimp role. You can tell he is having a lot of fun with the project. I was also impressed with Alex Pettyfer - he shows a vulnerability and an "aw shucks" earnestness that was vital for the role. For those who are looking for skin, there's enough and plenty of that, although I thought it was not really titillating from its lack of subtlety. The early evening almost all-women audience seemed to be lapping it up, though. Yes, pun intended. "Magic Mike" is not just a dirty romp - you will not feel too guilty when you wake up in the morning.

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