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Let’s Rush To Judgment: ‘Magic Mike’

Filed by KOSU News in Art & Life.
April 19, 2012

The casting of Magic Mike was attention-getting from the start.

It became known over time, you see, that this comedy about male strippers — directed by Steven Soderbergh — would not only star Channing Tatum, but would include Matt Bomer, Alex Pettyfer, several other fine-looking young actors, and Matthew McConaughey, who I can only assume is playing some sort of stripper emeritus, given the rapidity with which people seem to go out of style in the pec-peddling business. (Don’t get me wrong; I consider 42 a perfectly good age for stripping. But I imagine that the income may drop.)

The trailer will come as a surprise only if (1) you don’t know it’s a stripper movie before you start, and (2) you haven’t ever seen television and movies play out the “sexy cop” scene before. But nevertheless, we quickly learn that Magic Mike (Tatum) is not only a stripper, but he is a kind of uberstripper — a wunderskind, if you will, who makes all the ladies go crazy. (In my experience, his appeal is somewhat broader, but okay.)

Just a note from a lady, by the way: I’m not sure the people I know go to see male strippers to see “the husband that they never had,” any more than the aim of dudes at a bikini car wash is to fantasize about settling down.

At any rate, it’s not long before we learn that Mike is not just a stripper. He has a dream. A dream! Of course he does. And what is it? He makes custom furniture. CUSTOM FURNITURE! Just like the guy in While You Were Sleeping, and the guy in Like Crazy, and the guy in Phenomenon, and I honestly am sure there are lots and lots more, but WHAT IS WITH GUYS IN MOVIES WHO SHOW THEIR SENSIVITY BY MAKING CUSTOM FURNITURE?

It kind of reminds me of Winona Ryder’s character in Autumn In New York, the terrible movie she made where she was in love with Richard Gere (and not in a “you’re like a grandpa to me” kind of way). She made whimsical hats in that movie, which I have always remembered, only because it seemed to me that you could not redeem a fundamentally boring character by suggesting that in her (spoiler alert) last stretch of life before she died, she was going to make some truly, deeply whimsical hats.

So Mike makes furniture.

And he’s sort of maybe going to have a thing with this woman (Cody Horn), who is the sister of … the Pettyfer stripper, it appears? And she will challenge his “lifestyle” — by the way, men of Earth, if you pick up “I’m not my lifestyle!” as a line in serious conversation, we are through — and try to get him to move among the living, and it appears they actually might have some relaxed chemistry.

There are actually not as many exposed chests in this trailer as I was expecting, although there’s a good amount of dancing, and I do think Tatum is wise to get some more mileage out of the dancing he did so much of in Step Up (that’s right: Step Up) before he blows out a knee or something. He’s been doing action (Haywire), comedy (21 Jump Street), goopy romance (The Vow, Dear John) — it’s smart to get back to a little hip-shaking, because he’s actually very good at it.

What do you think? [Copyright 2012 National Public Radio]

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