Most Anticipated: Magic Mike

46. Magic Mike (R) - Runtime: 110 minutes
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn
Director: Steven Soderbergh

I'm going to be completely honest - I think I'm developing a crush on Channing Tatum. It's really not that hard - he's easy on the eyes and charming enough. When he first came onto the scene in Step Up, he just seemed like another meathead actor. And for a while he didn't do too much to prove that stereotype wrong (Fighting, G.I. Joe). But it really only takes one or two movies for me to start to like an actor and this definitely solidified my endorsement of all things Tatum. In fact, this is going to be the year of the Tatum - he probably would have had four (FOUR!) $100 million dollar movies if G.I. Joe 2 did not get pushed back to next year. Magic Mike is infectiously good and one of the best movies I've seen all year. I wouldn't go so far as to say Magic Mike is Oscar worthy, but you could have a legitimate case for it's inclusion in the Oscar race.

Maggie had asked me if I wanted to go see this movie and secretly I was going to ask her if she didn't first. This is truly a ladies' movie, but I still wanted to see what Soderbergh could do and I am a sucker for romantic comedies, too. I don't know exactly how much Maggie liked the movie (she did like it!), but I certainly fell in love. And I wasn't alone in this sentiment - there was a lot of hootin' and hollerin' by the mostly female audience. It actually made the movie far more fun to watch than I expected!

Besides the fantastic acting on hand, a lot of the Magic Mike's success has to do with Soderbergh. I really wish this dude wasn't abandoning the director's chair because he really knows how to shoot a movie. He can jump from genre to genre and here he has finally shown he can do a romantic comedy. I had a big smile across my face the whole time during this movie. The characters are extremely likable and incredibly talented and the dance scenes are so amazing and well done I want to go back and watch it again. There's just something, well.... magical about the whole thing (yes pun intended!). I kept looking over at Maggie during those dance numbers and her jaw was agape most of the time. I have never been to a strip club (male or female - yes I am such a prude), so I really didn't know what to expect and neither did Maggie (at least, I think she's never been to a strip club! Although I wouldn't put it past her to hide her hidden shame/obsession of cavorting around at male strip clubs, throwing money like it was candy at a parade).

I mentioned the acting was incredible and I gotta hand it to Tatum and crew - they really nailed it. Especially Tatum - this movie is partially based on his experiences and it doesn't surprise me that he's in his element here. He just seems really comfortable with the character and you really get sucked into his life. The supporting cast is great - Pettyfer is another pretty face but totally has the ability to play the newbie, "The Kid" so fine that you're either going to love him or hate him (I hated him!). Cody Horn plays The Kid's sister who's the responsible one and finds herself trying to straddle being a responsible guardian to her little brother but at the same time respecting his choices and obviously falling for Mike. She does a fantastic job playing this conflicted character - being the film's (somewhat) moral compass can be daunting, but she has enough charm that it's effortless for her.

I had a fun time with this movie and it's a little bit more than just a romantic comedy - there's some terrific characters and drama unfolding plus the wild and crazy dance scenes that will leave a lot of people hot and bothered. If you're a guy, I understand the hesitation to see this movie, but it's actually a lot of fun and surprisingly funny and heartwarming.

Rating: See It!

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