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Review: ‘Magic Mike’ stripped of concrete plotline but offers plenty of eye candy

Courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

It seems Warner Bros. Entertainment backed “Magic Mike” just to have an excuse to put male strippers on the big screen. Actually I think it’s fair to question whether producers even glanced away from the washboard-flaunting cast to read the film’s plotline, because it was more of a bust than that which protruded below Channing Tatum’s waistline.

A cross between “Burlesque” and “Boogie Nights,” “Magic Mike” is somewhat a peek into the former stripping career of Tatum, who plays main character, Mike, who goes by stage name “Magic Mike.” Tatum’s prior experience could explain why he seemed to have no trouble as he naturally took the lead in pelvic thrusting his way across the stage with his character’s counterparts, the Cock-Rocking Kings of Tampa.

Other jaw-dropping cast members included Matthew McConaughey playing Dallas, a strip club owner, and Alex Pettyfer playing the supporting role of Adam, who goes by stage name “The Kid.” Oh and of course I can’t go without recognizing Joe Manganiello from HBO’s “True Blood,” who played Big Dick Richie.

In the film, Mike, a man of many professions including construction man, car detailer, stripper and his most passionate vocation, custom furniture maker, takes 19-year-old Adam under his wing as a new addition to the Cock-Rocking Kings.

Adam, who lives with his sister Brooke, played by Cody Horn, gets caught up in what seems to be part of the lifestyle for some strippers: drugs. This, unfortunately, is when the film takes viewers out of the strip club and into less riveting and far more typical plot points, not only because Tatum and Pettyfer have their shirts on more than off in the second half of the film.

Apparently somewhere between Mike realizing he doesn’t want to be a stripper forever and should finally pursue a career in custom furniture making and Adam failing as a drug dealer, sparks fly between Brooke and Mike. When? I have no clue, but perhaps their bantering about enjoying or not enjoying breakfast food, or reiterating in every scene that they both need to take care of Adam, marked some sort of chemistry.

Either way, of course Tatum would be put in the role of the charming good guy who is looking for something more in life than just jiggling his cheeks, and I’m sure drugs are definitely a must in the stripping industry. Typical Hollywood.

The onscreen attraction between Mike and Brooke, however, had no strong lead up to becoming a romance and was never evident until the last few minutes of the film, which left a lot of answered questions.

One being that at the film’s conclusion, when Mike finally decides to stop being a stripper and stay in Tampa instead of relocating to Miami with the rest of the Cock-Rocking Kings, we have no idea what happens to Adam. How could these two people who cared so much for “The Kid” not address how they’re going to continue caring for him? I felt as if I was left to assume he overdoses again, and with luck and enough practice might develop into as good of a stripper as Mike.

I should have realized it was unnecessary to know what happens to everyone else in the film, though. As the movie’s title suggests, I suppose all we only need be concerned about is Mike and him having a happy ending. If it weren’t for the mangled plotline, I would have, too. I guess staring at the man candy can suffice, but I pity any viewers who attend without an attraction to the male sex.

Grade: C+

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