SideReel Review - Magic Mike (2012) starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Joe Manganiello, and Matthew Bomer by Yael Tygiel

Magic Mike (2012)

A handful of the ladies at SideReel took a magical journey to a press screening of the highly anticipated (seriously, we’ve been talking about it for Months!) male-stripper romantic dramedy, MAGIC MIKE. We were prepared for the super sexy, all-star cast – Joe Manganiello (True Blood) and Matthew Bomer (White Collar) included – and we were aware that the plot is loosely based on Channing Tatum’s real life as a stripper.

Before attending the preview screening, I asked each of the SideReel ladies to focus on 1 of the 5 main men (Matthew McConaughey, Matthew Bomer, Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, and Alex Pettyfer) and then share their thoughts. Below you’ll find our impressions of the film and characters, each write-up from a different woman with a different perspective. We hope you enjoy.

The story of Magic Mike is pretty simple: A male-stripper with a heart of gold takes a young college drop-out under his wing, introducing him to a world of girls, money, and stripping.


Matthew McConaughey

Matthew McConaughey is pitch perfect as Xquisite club owner Dallas, a forty-ish showman with grand ambitions of moving his whole "Kings of Tampa" crew to a huge new club in big-time Miami.  He’s the archetypal circus boss, enticing his performers to strive for fame, wealth, and glory by exploiting their talents and physique regardless of the cost to their physical health, relationships, or nobler educational or professional aspirations. As the MC for the Xquisite show, Dallas shirtlessly parades his dancers in front of sorority girls and cougars, but seems to have graduated from actually dancing himself. He is a charming snake of a villain, for whom you would want to simultaneously root and yet boo, if only you cared more about his schemes than you did about wanting to see McConaughey himself strip down like all the others.  Lucky for us, on their closing night in Tampa, Dallas finally takes to the stage for one last performance, and the audience is treated to a deliciously satisfying scene of self-worship, as McConaughey gradually disrobes in the most ridiculous ways, while stroking his oiled chest and posing like a god delivering his worshiping audience into rapture.


Matthew Bomer

Many loved Matt Bomer from his days on NBC’s Chuck. Personally, I have become increasingly more fascinated with him and his character on White Collar. And who can forget his recent guest appearance on Glee? But let me be honest: I can’t deny that watching him dance (and strip) in Magic Mike is definitely my favorite role of his! Although his screen time wasn’t major – in fact, it was unfortunately minor – stripper Ken was a little different than the other guys. Not only did he seem to be the only stripper who was married, but also, his face was adorned with a beaming smile as he danced and gyrated. I believe that Ken really enjoyed his job and actually put effort into doing it well. I must thank him for that.


Channing Tatum

While I had no doubt Channing Tatum was perfect to play the lead in his own life story, I really enjoyed Tatum's nice guy meets hot stripper persona, and felt he carried the movie extremely well! Channing Tatum plays the perfect life coach to Alex Pettyfer's "The Kid," and my only complaint is that Tatum showed off his excellent dance moves more than his stripping moves in his group and solo stripping performances! 


Joe Manganiello

Given the plot's focus and his on-point dance moves, Channing Tatum is assumed to be the film's star. And maybe he is, in some respects… but let's face it – Joe Manganiello is the one everyone's dying to see. He doesn't have many lines, and he doesn't have any swoon-worthy romantic moments (unless you count a rather unfortunate onstage encounter) but Big Dick Richie does not disappoint. With his 10-pack abs (HOW IS THAT EVEN POSSIBLE?!), firefighter costume, hand-sewn banana hammocks, and completely unnecessary "personal enlargement apparatus," Joe may not be THE star, but he's the big, juicy sausage on this platter of stripper spaghetti. He may not nail every count of the choreography with Channing-level precision, but when it counts (in other words, gyrate his pelvis with brain-shattering isolations), he's perfection.


Alex Pettyfer

Shambling onto the stage to lose his "stripper virginity," Alex Pettyfer is surprisingly believable as Adam (aka The Kid), an aimless scruffy hottie. Yet his charming British pug and vulnerability isn't quite enough to carry him as Channing Tatum's foil. Whatever sympathy I had for his failed football career soon evaporates, as he does nothing but create problems for his BFF while, at best, providing amiable bromanship. By the time I was rolling my eyes at his parting promises to Mike, my disinterest in Adam was complete. The Kid does have eyes to swoon for, fantastic hair, and is just this side of hot enough to strip, but Channing Tatum's innate charm and sexiness blows him out of the water. But hey, whatever, I'd hit it.

So what are we trying to say? Grab a glass of your favorite wine with your girlfriends and head to the movies already! Magic Mike is rated R and hits theaters June 29, 2012.  

-- Yael Tygiel (with additional reporting by Zaz Harris, Alex Gambardella, Laura Murphy, and Kendra Hyett)


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