Thursday, October 25, 2012

Paragraph Movie Reviews: Magic Mike

If you don't have plans to see this movie, you can check the spoilers here and then come back.

This was a movie with an intriguing premise, a fun movie, even an entertaining movie in large part, but it just couldn't pull it together enough to make its positives overcome the problems for me and be something I'd want to watch again or recommend. Channing Tatum delivers an amazing performance, there's no question about that; he's got a charisma that's both laid back and fun, he feels more natural here than in anything else I've seen him in and he carries his end of the workload, delivering with every line and every performance. Tatum is so strong here that it makes you root for the movie to be better because he deserves it. Steven Soderbergh seemed to give strong direction for the most part, as it's interestingly shot and the big performance numbers are well done. The problem is that the plot meanders; a lot of time is spent up front establishing the characters and their situation, but then it feels like the story doesn't know where to go, so it just treads water with dance numbers sprinkled in until it reaches its end abruptly and without delivering satisfaction. I enjoy Tatum's Mike and I'm interested in Matthew McConnaughey's Dallas--that's the other spot-on casting as he lives it up playing the sleazy showman papa bear of the group--but their arcs don't go anywhere surprising or riveting. The main romantic plot between Mike and Cody Horn's character typifies the problems with the movie, as they flirt with no seeming stakes for an hour and a half and then we're supposed to believe they have a connection and care about where they end up. Beyond the story stuff, I found Alex Pettyfer too angsty in his role as Mike's protege gone amok, and then you've got great actors like Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello being criminally underutilized with maybe four lines between them; Olivia Munn and Kevin Nash get a little more to do, but not much. There are great parts to Magic Mike, mostly in the beginning, but it feels like the people putting it together got really excited about how well their first act was going and then just called it quits; disappointing.