The JOE-DOWN Reviews ‘Magic Mike’

This is an installment for a series on this blog where Joe Brown, Sports Editor for the Red Wing Republican Eagle, and I have a back-and-forth review of a movie. We will take turns selecting a movie — any movie we want — and review it here. For this installment, I picked “Magic Mike.”

The info:

The Movie: “Magic Mike”

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Plot Summary: (From IMDB) A male stripper teaches a younger performer how to party, pick up women, and make easy money.

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 81 percent

Our take:

Froemming: After last week’s thrilling adventures in terrorism and Harrison Ford’s magnetic scowling, I wanted to take the JOE-DOWN in a different direction. A direction for those of our readers who’d rather see less action, and more rock-hard abs and the bodies they belong to dancing to bass-thumpin’ music.

So I picked “Magic Mike.” A film about a furniture maker who finds himself in the wild and wooly world of erotic dancing in Tampa, Fla. Before we dig deep into this meditation on the world of carefree sex and adult entertainment, Brown what are your initial thoughts on this film?

Brown: What the (REDACTED) did I just watch?

I don’t mean that as a knock on a film about male stripping. I’m comfortable in my sexuality, so whatever. I mean that in the sense of what the actual hell happened in this movie?

Look, I get popcorn movies. Lord knows we’ve reviewed enough ‘80s/’90s action movies here on the JOE-DOWN, and this is certainly the female equivalent of that.

Because we both have the physique of Chris Farley in the “SNL” Chippendales skit, I feel safe in saying that we were not the target audience here.

Although, I do have a soft spot in my heart for Ginuwine’s “Pony.” It makes me think of Lil’ Sebastian from “Parks and Rec.

Froemming: Instead of feeling humbled by my lumpy physique, let’s get into the film.

The film starts like all classic tales do: The morning after a threesome with strangers. We meet Mike Lane, a man who uses his electric shaver to trim his pubes in front of his house guests. And we meet Joanna, a woman who kind of knows the man she just spend the night with. Look, there is quite a bit of casual sex in this film, and I am not going to get very detailed in it because I want to remain employed.

Mike heads to his day job as a roofer, where he meets a 19-year-old named Adam, who is pretty much why people hate Millennials: He sucks at his job and only wants to play video games while living off his sister’s couch.

Brown: My dad once owned a home remodeling business, and this movie made me question if he ever hired male strippers for his roofing crew. And I just remembered my brother worked for him. What if he… Nope, I’m not going down this avenue.

Something that gave me thought early in this movie: They say the F-word A LOT in this movie. I will throw that around in casual conversation, but man, we are getting into “Goodfellas” levels of swearing because every character in this movie has a 100-word vocabulary. And 80 of those words are the F-word.

Froemming: It is Tampa, Fla. I am not shocked by their fourth-grade level of communication.

Brown: And I’ll jump around a little bit, but I had a major problem with Adam’s character. He’s a roofer that was hired on Craigslist. Then he gets fired from the crew for stealing Pepsi. He doesn’t take well to authority (he was booted from his college football team for punching the coach in the first hour of the first practice). Eventually, because Adam runs into Mike outside a club due to happenstance. And for reasons, Mike thinks Adam has that “It” factor. The dude looks ponchy in a hoodie but all of a sudden he’s jacked and has some potential in showbiz? How the (REDACTED) did ANYONE in this movie get that vibe from this 19-year-old dweeb who can’t be bothered to shave his ratty beard?

Froemming: He is young, and Mike uses that to lure in younger clientele for Xquisite, the strip club he works as his night job (when does he even sleep?).

So, Mike takes Adam under his wing, because Adam got a birthday party to attend his club (shaky plot here I admit).

Mike convinces Dallas (McConaughey in all his glory here folks. He even overuses his classic “Alright, alright, alright” line from “Dazed and Confused” in this film) to let Adam work in the club, and he reluctantly agrees. Adam’s first job is to rub tanning spray into a stripper’s leg. This is Mac’s — from “It’s Always Sunny” — dream job.

Brown: Not just any stripper. It’s Tarzan, played by former WCW and WWF champion Kevin Nash, who makes his second JOE-DOWN appearance after being the Russian from “The Punisher.” And I’m glad Kevin Nash’s stripper moves are akin to how mine would be.

So Adam sticks around helping with props in the show, and the ladies are having a good time watching the exotic show. However, near the end of the show (should I say climax of the show?), they run into a problem: Tarzan passes out because reasons and they need a closer. Because why the (REDACTED) not, Mike throws Adam on stage to have him awkwardly trot out and make out with the 21-year-old birthday girl. HE HAS POTENTIAL somehow.

There was a brief point here where I thought this was a modern-day retelling of “Purple Rain” because the bulk of the movie takes place in a club and Adam is constantly referred to as The Kid.

Froemming: Well, Tarzan passed out because he drank too much of that bootleg liquor the DJ was giving the dancers. A liquor that gets them drunk, minus the carbs. Even when they are boozing, they are counting carbs.

Adam makes the club a lot of money with his “kissing the client” thing, and Dallas wants to bring him in full-time. But first, this scrawny little hipster needs to learn how to dance!

By the way, after seeing all the money these guys were making, I started contemplating leaving the world of journalism and entering the stripping world, because I have no shame. Then I remembered I am shaped like a lumpy potato and have no dancing skills, so journalism it is.

Brown: And after said successful night of stripping and alcohol-fueled sex (at least for Adam), Mike drives Adam home to his wet blanket of a sister, Brooke. And because he’s delirious from probably not having sex for four hours, Mike forms a sort of bond with Brooke and spends the rest of the movie trying to charm her. I mean, she’s cute and all and she does respond well to her advances, but she clearly hates what Mike and co. do. And why wouldn’t she? Mike is a 30-year-old male stripper who talks a big game but can’t get out of the club and into his dream: Custom-made furniture.

To each his own. Furniture is like art in that people like what they like. I just thought his creations were kind of ugly. Apparently the bank must think so as well because he can’t get a loan because Mike is a deadbeat.

Froemming: OK, the loan thing bothered me a bit. Mike is making bank, but somehow didn’t use the six years of stripping to establish a line of credit. You don’t need to put all your money in the bank, Mike, but get a credit card and pay in money orders or whatever. Also, he has that nice truck and nice home. How the (REDACTED) does he not have a good credit line? It is not like he is straddled with student loans. This was just infuriating to me.

But not as infuriating as my irrational hatred of Channing Tatum. I do not get the appeal of this guy. A friend of mine told me “he looks like a guy whose brother is also his uncle.”

Brown: You watched an 110-minute movie featuring Channing Tatum’s abs and you don’t see the appeal? THAT IS THE (REDACTED) APPEAL!

Froemming: Don’t jump to conclusions, Brown. Some people might like that paint-drying personality of his.

Brown: I actually like Channing Tatum. He’s got some charm and a good sense of humor if you saw the “21 Jump Street” movies. Plus, he has my favorite cameo in a movie in “This Is The End” because it comes out of nowhere.

Now, back to “Magic Mike.” Because Brooke is such a drag, Mike has to look after a grown man (well, man child) in Adam. He takes him over to the local sex shop for costumes. He takes him to a dance studio to have Dallas show him the ropes. He takes him to sandbar parties after dressing like Marilyn Monroe. And the whole time, Mike drags Brooke around so he can CLEARLY hit on her. I had to honestly ask if any of these people have day jobs. Mike was a roofer at one point. What happened to that job? That roof was far from completion.

And because this movie tried at a semblance of plot, there is a seedy element to the whole dance thing. And Adam falls hard for it.

(L-r) MATTHEW McCONAUGHEY as Dallas and GABRIEL IGLESIAS as Tobias in Warner Bros. PicturesÕ dramatic comedy ÒMAGIC MIKE,Ó a Warner Bros. Pictures release.Photo courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures

Froemming: Well, at 19 I certainly wasn’t making the best decisions in life either. So I don’t hold that against Adam.

Adam certainly falls into the world of drugs, sex and stripping. But he gets a little in over his head when Tobias, the club’s DJ, wants to make a side business with Adam. This happens, naturally, during a party when everyone is getting wrecked and watching a hurricane destroy areas of Florida. Which, I don’t blame them. Florida sucks.

Brown: Florida man is a meme for a reason. So I get that.

We get a montage of sex and drugs with Adam because that fills a film reel instead of developing story.

And the drama comes to a head at a private party at a sorority. Adam feeds one of the girls some ecstasy. And that does not sit well with her boyfriend and the other guys at the party (who are just chilling in a back room while male stripping is going on because reasons) and a fight ensues. Mike and Adam bolt without Adam’s backpack, which is packed with drugs he’s supposed to sell. Because Adam doesn’t give a (REDACTED) about anything, he thinks it’s no big deal (he believes it’s only $1,000 worth of drugs gone. It’s actually $10,000).

Froemming: And of course, Mike has to pay that debt off for Adam, thus giving Mike that first pang of becoming an adult and hating the younger generation for being deadbeats. Trust me, this suddenly happens to everyone once you hit your 30s. It comes out of nowhere.

Brown: There’s a few things to touch on before said debt is paid.

  • Because Dallas is looking to move his stripping empire down to Miami, he and Mike get into an argument over the drug selling. In anger, Mike and Adam take a bunch of drugs, go clubbing and have MORE casual sex.
  • Tobias and associates break into Mike’s house looking for Adam in the dresser? Once Mike finds out how much Adam actually owes, he pays off the debt.
  • Adam nearly ODs, Brooke yells at Mike, Adam moves off the couch to do more drugs. Next time Adam sees Mike, he acts like an ass and pretty much blows off paying off Mike.

And he can do this. You know why? This is my biggest problem with this movie: There is no (REDACTED) consequences for ANYONE’S actions.

Froemming: This is Florida, man. Nobody owns up to their mistakes there.

Also, I watched this the same weekend I started watching season one of “True Detective.” I started imagining this is what Rust Cole was doing after he left police work and before he gets interviewed by the Louisiana PD wanting to hear his side of a strange murder investigation in the ‘90s. He changed his name to Dallas and made a killing with his nightclub in Florida.

Anyway, yes Adam is a real piece of (REDACTED). And Mike decides he does not want to move to Miami and continue his life of making big money and casual sex. HE WANTS TO MAKE FURNITURE, PEOPLE!

So he leaves the club (and stripping behind) and heads to Brooke’s place, they start talking AND THE MOVIE JUST (REDACTED) ENDS! WHAT?

Brown: I’m seething thinking about this ending.

Adam is a deadbeat who just got his ass saved by Mike and NOTHING happens to him.

Dallas has dancers selling drugs and NOTHING happens to him.

Mike almost had a person die in his house and has drug dealers rummaging through his belongings and NOTHING happens to him. Well, except for meeting up with Brooke, saying they should get breakfast and strongly implying they will be having sex for the next seven hours before the restaurant opens.

There are terrible people all over this movie and NOTHING happens. No consequences. It just ends, and it doesn’t exactly leave itself open to a sequel. This whole movie’s plot is male strippers in Tampa have fun for three months. The end.

(REDACTED) this movie.

Froemming: You know, revenge is a dish best served cold, and this was my revenge for “Charlie St. Cloud.” I am glad it worked.

Brown: And I’ll be glad to put you through hell next week…

And just like “Magic Mike,” let’s end this review abruptly.

WOULD YOU RECOMMEND?

Froemming: No. This movie really has no plot, and I hate Channing Tatum. The only aspect I enjoyed was McConaughey’s performance.

Brown: If you are a woman and want a popcorn movie, go nuts. But anyone else, no. Again, (REDACTED) this movie.

Here is what’s coming up for the next Joe-Down: