Northeast Times

‘Magic Mike,’ a ‘Boogie Nights’ tale of stripping

Chan­ning Tatum stars in ‘Ma­gic Mike.’

Start­Frag­ment

Chan­ning Tatum has some real life ex­per­i­ence to draw on for his star­ring role in Ma­gic Mike, and let’s just say that many of the view­ers will  ap­pre­ci­ate his firsthand know­ledge.

It seems, in his pre-Hol­ly­wood days, Tatum spent a few months work­ing as an exot­ic dan­cer in Tampa, Fla. And it just so hap­pens that Tampa is the set­ting for Ma­gic Mike, and Tatum is the hot head­liner all the ladies bring their dol­lar bills to see.

Ma­gic Mike is not as campy as it looks, and much to my sur­prise, it ac­tu­ally had quite a (dare I say) meaty storyline that’s about more than just men tak­ing off their clothes.

Sure, there’s plenty off skin from Tatum and his co-stars, which in­clude Mat­thew Mc­Conaughey, Alex Petty­fer, Matt Bomer, Joe Man­gani­ello, Kev­in Nash and Adam Rodrig­uez, but the movie ac­tu­ally has some sub­stance bey­ond strip­ping.

Mike (Tatum) is a 30-year-old en­tre­pren­eur by day, vet­er­an strip­per by night at the Xquis­ite all-male re­vue run by Dal­las (Mc­Conaughey). He’s des­per­ately try­ing to get a cus­tom fur­niture busi­ness off the ground, but when your cred­it score is in the 400s (due to op­er­at­ing in all cash); it’s dif­fi­cult to get a bank loan.

He sees po­ten­tial in a guy he meets and calls the Kid (Petty­fer), so he takes the 19-year-old un­der his wing and to­geth­er they en­joy party­ing, dan­cing and pick­ing up wo­men.

Mike prom­ises the Kid’s older sis­ter Brooke (Cody Horn) that he’ll do his best to watch out for her little broth­er. Un­for­tu­nately, the eas­ily in­flu­enced Kid gets caught up in some dirty deeds that threaten to take him down.

Though Mike can eas­ily bring any girl or two he wants home for the night, he sees Brooke as the rare girl whom he ac­tu­ally wants to take out on a date be­fore bring­ing her home. But Brooke’s not too keen on the whole strip­per life­style.

Dir­ec­ted by Steven Soder­bergh (Traffic) and writ­ten by Re­id Car­olin, Ma­gic Mike has quite a bit more of an edge than the pre­views in­dic­ate. I’ve heard some com­pare it to Boo­gie Nights, only with a strip­ping storyline in­stead of por­no­graphy. And sorry to dis­ap­point the ladies, but there really isn’t all that much strip­ping go­ing on. I didn’t time it, but I’d say it amoun­ted to 15 minutes or less of the two-hour movie.

Tatum is hav­ing a ban­ner year with suc­cesses such as 21 Jump Street and The Vow un­der his belt already. He plays Mike with just enough sym­pathy and sen­su­al­ity that the audi­ence will find it dif­fi­cult not to like the char­ac­ter. And Mc­Conaughey (who has nev­er had a prob­lem show­ing off his physique) nicely plays the club own­er who wants to ex­pand and take his guys to the big time, Miami.

Small-screen stars Matt Bomer (White Col­lar), Joe Man­gani­ello (True Blood) and Adam Rodrig­uez (CSI: Miami) aren’t asked to do much be­sides stand around shirt­less and in skimpy un­der­wear.

The thing I didn’t en­joy about Ma­gic Mike was the ab­rupt end­ing. It was like someone de­cided “OK, the movie is long enough” and it should end without any real res­ol­u­tion, es­pe­cially for the Kid.

I heard some mus­ings from some of the ladies in my screen­ing audi­ence who wondered why this movie wasn’t in 3-D. Sounds like a good idea for a se­quel to me. ••

Movie Grade: B+

You can reach at shorbrook@bsmphilly.com.

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