'Magic Mike' Review By Thomas Clarke (Kiion)

More like Tragic Mike than Magic. A shame.
  • OVERALL
    2.5
    WORTHY
  • Story
  • Acting
  • Directing
  • Visuals
Few directors release movies as quickly as Steven Soderbergh. Since 2004 he has racked up 14 different movies. With as many movies being made as this it is obvious to most that not all will be critically acclaimed. This is the bracket that 'Magic Mike' falls into, which could be seen as a shame due to the nature of the project and the cast that is signed on. Following on from last years 'Contagion' and 'Haywire', Soderbergh has decided to shift his focus entirely to a new plot device; that of male strippers in America and the lives they lead. It is a nice premise, that is rarely shown in cinemas, but is handled in such an average manner that never does it reach the highs of other movies that deal with subjects that are uncommon in the mainstream.

'Magic Mike' tells of a young boy who has flunked everything, struggles to keep a job and has fashion taboos on many articles that are compulsory for getting on in life- such as a tie. Living with his sister who wants him to achieve ambitions, Adam is just not bothered. That is until he meets a 30 year old male stripper who goes by the name 'Magic Mike'. Mike shows him how to get money through taking off your clothes and enlists him into his world. This film chronicles his rise into the job he enjoys, soaking in on all the bad lifestyles that come with having everything. In a complete opposite manner it also outlines the desire to leave the shady profession that Mike holds, striving to be an entrepreneur of custom furniture. It is a average plot at best but is made even harder to watch with nothing seeming like it is finished. The love story that has been added into the mix is never resolved in a way that would leave audience members happy and the personal lives of the two lead characters are never fully concluded, leaving the audience with annoyance at wanting more out of the time that they have put into each character respectively. This is the most major flaw as it means there feels no real point to watching the film. Adding scenes into the production with only the aim of making people talk about whats shown, means that this film also feels put together in a rushed and unorganized fashion. In truth, if hollywood stars stripping is not enough to entice you, then really this film has not much else for you to find interest.

On the plus side, the main strength of this movie rests on the shoulders of the two leads. Channing Tatum, as Mike, and Alex Pettyfer, as Adam, perform in such a way that makes the film watchable. With confidence given from his stint as a stripper, Tatum seems to enjoy his role throughout. Pettyfer however begins stiff but seems to gain more comfort as the film moves through. The chemistry is also very strong between the two people, which shows through to the audience who are enabled to become engrossed in both characters lives for the most part.

Flaws that this film have are many and common throughout. The pacing of the entire film never feels balanced. Some segments go along too fast with not enough information given to those who are watching, whilst others drag at a snails pace due to untimely breaks in speech, and words that are really not needed. If the pacing was changed and all scenes were cut that were not needed, then this film could probably be half as long in duration. Through not getting the balance correct it means that in many parts the film borders on becoming a dull and painful thing to watch. With possibly one of the most annoying people to watch as one of the main cast in this production, this film also fails on casting Cody Horn as Mike's love interest/Adam's sister Brooke. Throughout the entire film the girl does not smile, instead making the same expressionless fast in every stage of her characters mood. At first it seems needed but by the end of the film it just becomes plainly annoying. When delivering her lines she is in many occasions wooden in delivery, and she is unable to convey any chemistry with Tatum in what she performs. She spoils the entire acting on this film, and long after the film ends you will wonder why on earth she has chosen this career, let alone been cast in this feature. A complete mismatch to other talent that has been present in the director's back catalogue. The final major flaw that can be said about this movie is the stylistic approach the director has implemented. Like 'Haywire', this film is overly styled but in a way that does not fit the context of the movie. With the same orange tint put over the entire film, none of the cinematography used feels real. It really takes a lot away from what is occurring on screen and like many things found in the film, it never feels needed. This film holds to many flaws to be counted as a masterpiece, this is a shame because without these flaws this film promised to be great.

An average storyline at best. An annoying lead actress. An over stylistic approach to the film production qualities. A narrative that never finishes anything it starts. This film is barely watchable, with the only saving grace being the two lead actors, and a fine performance from Matthew McConaughey to be had. An hour long storyline stretched over two, this film will lead many a viewer to complete and utter boredom. A film that offered loads in ideas but never fully meets any. Plainly average.

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