Thursday, December 14, 2017
Movies

Review: With strong McConaughey performance, Tampa's thong life sparkles in 'Magic Mike'

anyone planning to see Magic Mike should consider bringing a few extra dollar bills to the theater. It may be tempting to toss a few at the chiseled strippers bumping and grinding on the screen.

Magic Mike is about men dancing suggestively for women who complete the fantasy in their heads and possibly elsewhere. It's a dirty-minded job, but somebody has to do it. It's also a risky idea for a movie, given the spotty track record of films dealing so frankly with sex as pop entertainment.

Show no regard for taste or execution and you make another Showgirls. Hit all the right notes of hedonism and desperate consequences and the result can be something wonderful like Boogie Nights. Magic Mike is closer in style and quality to the latter, with energetic carnality and people exposed in more ways than one.

Magic Mike is set and partially filmed in Tampa, where its star Channing Tatum spent several months dancing in a male revue at age 19. His input lends authenticity to Reid Carolin's screenplay, populated with colorful characters making ends meet by flashing their rear ends. The dance routines are hot, sweaty and ridiculously staged with costumed choreography that most revues could never afford. The movie may be as much of a fantasy for exotic dancers as the dancers themselves for customers.

Tatum is athletic and alluring as Mike Lane, star attraction of the Kings of Tampa dance crew. Mike makes good money and beds any woman he wants, occasionally two at a time. This isn't all he does with his life, which makes him more interesting. Mike also works at multiple day jobs, stashing cash for his goal of owning a business building custom furniture.

At one job site Mike meets Adam a.k.a."The Kid" (Alex Pettyfer), and introduces him to Xquisite, a male revue nightclub run by drawling satyr Dallas Rising, a spectacular role for Matthew McConaughey, played to the silky hilt. The Kid finds a family at Xquisite, muscular men who haven't grown up, pranking each other when they aren't basking in the feminine fruits of their labors.

Dallas has his own dream, of opening a bigger club in Miami, always keeping cobra eyes on the prize. Whether seducing an audience as emcee, teaching The Kid the art of pelvic thrusts, or dressed as Uncle Sam for a bawdy Fourth of July tribute, McConaughey is thoroughly committed to Dallas' laser focus on what sells about sex. It's an astonishing performance, so in tune with the wild man McConaughey is reported to be — he even pounds a conga drum — that it feels like a confessional.

Soderbergh keeps the debauchery amusing and energetic, so it's a minor letdown when the plot eventually requires some conventional conflict to resolve. That doesn't take anything away from the audacity of this project. Even when Magic Mike is skimpier than a g-string it soars on daring, as if Soderbergh asked himself who could possibly make a good movie from such offbeat material, answered "I can," and did.

Steve Persall can be reached at [email protected] or (727) 893-8365.

Comments
Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

Disney buying large part of 21st Century Fox in $52.4 billion deal

NEW YORK — Disney is buying a large part of the Murdoch family’s 21st Century Fox for about $52.4 billion in stock, including film and television studios and cable and international TV businesses, as it tries to meet competition from technology compa...
Published: 12/14/17
Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie but ‘Wonder Wheel’ is awful

Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie but ‘Wonder Wheel’ is awful

Now isn’t a good time for Woody Allen to make a bad movie, while broken silence resurrects whispers of his own alleged sexual misconduct.Wonder Wheel (PG-13) is exactly what the 82-year-old Oscar winner doesn’t need, a reason beyond social outrage fo...
Published: 12/13/17
Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

Star Wars: The Last Jedi has everything The Force Awakens was missing

When The Force Awakens landed two years ago, it was everything Star Wars fans wanted yet not entirely what we needed. It was a rousing tribute missing its own vision, introducing new characters and crises hinting at old ones. Star Wars: The Last Jed...
Published: 12/12/17
13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

13 new movies you have to see over the holiday season

Hollywood has enough movies left to get everyone through the holidays plus any New Year’s hangover. Many are aiming for awards glory, a few are just here for the party. The really serious contenders won’t open nationwide until early 2018...
Published: 12/12/17
Six places to see a movie and eat dinner at the same time

Six places to see a movie and eat dinner at the same time

Back in my day ...Go on. Say the words. Apply it to the cost of movies. Once a casual weekend outing, seeing a flick can be an enormously expensive experience in streaming-happy 2017. Tickets can climb upwards of $15 these days, depending on the thea...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/13/17
Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Golden Globe-nominated movies and when to see them in Tampa Bay

Guillermo Del Toro’s romantic creature feature The Shape of Water soaked up seven Golden Globes nominations Monday, kicking off another marathon awards season. The Shape of Water is nominated for best dramatic motion picture alongside Christop...
Published: 12/11/17
Updated: 12/12/17
‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

‘Shape of Water,’ ‘Big Little Lies’ lead Golden Globes

Guillermo del Toro’s Cold War-era fairytale "The Shape of Water" swam away with a leading seven nominations from the Golden Globes, while the HBO drama "Big Little Lies" led television nominees with six nods. In what’s being viewed as a wide-open Osc...
Published: 12/11/17
Five offbeat movie choices to get you away from the multiplex this week

Five offbeat movie choices to get you away from the multiplex this week

Hollywood is backloading December, waiting for Star Wars: The Last Jedi to bring moviegoers back to multiplexes. After no major releases last week, only James Franco’s The Disaster Artist is making any new impression at box offices this weekend. (Cli...
Published: 12/06/17
Updated: 12/12/17
Olaf is being let go: Olaf short is being dropped from Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’

Olaf is being let go: Olaf short is being dropped from Disney-Pixar’s ‘Coco’

Winter is still weeks away but everyone’s favorite snowman is already melting from view.In a cruel twist on Frozen’s showstopper, Olaf is being let go.Olaf’s Frozen Adventure, the 21-minute animated "short" preceding Disney-Pixar’s Coco in theaters w...
Published: 12/05/17
‘The Disaster Artist’ takes us inside ‘The Room’ as it notoriously happened

‘The Disaster Artist’ takes us inside ‘The Room’ as it notoriously happened

James Franco found a kooky, kindred spirit in Tommy Wiseau, The Disaster Artist whose 2003 cine-trocity The Room is hailed as one of the worst movies ever.Like Wiseau, Franco can be accused of stretching his talent way too far. Unlike Wiseau, Franco ...
Published: 12/04/17