I like Magic Mike. I think it is an engaging and interesting film and not just because of the all the beautiful sweaty naked men. There is some really beautiful and interesting cinematography. The film has authentic dialogue and characters. All of this you can see in this clip where Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas is teaching Alex Pettyfer’s Adam how to dance.
That being said, I think that there is a huge flaw with Magic Mike. It has to do with the fact that, intentionally or not, the film has two protagonist; Channing Tattum’s Mike and Adam.
I’ve written in a previous post about narrative structure, and I suggest that you read it if you don’t know anything about it. I also wrote in my last post about how to end a film. You should check that one out too. The gist of that post is that is that good endings in films come from beginnings. The beginning sets up the main conflict(s) for the protagonist(s) and the ending resolve them.
The first scene of the film the audience is introduced to Mike. They see him waking up from a one night stand with a girl he has a loose relationship with and another girl who is a stranger. From this scene, the audience learns that Mike is tiring of this lifestyle and is looking for more of a romantic connection. Also, that he has a professional dream of making custom furniture that he hasn’t achieved. Right after, the audience sees Adam for the first time showing up at one of Mike’s jobs. Then two scenes later we just see Adam without Mike interacting with his sister and her boyfriend. The audience learns that Adams has recently flunked out of college and is looking for money and a purpose. Seeing Mike and Adam, both early in the film and both with a clear conflict leads the audience to believe that both of them are the film’s protagonist. Adam’s role as a protagonist is further reinforced once the pair meets up again and Mike takes Adam to his strip club. This is the first time we see the strip club and through camera angles and shots, it implies that we are seeing this place through Adam’s point of view. It’s unusual to get a shot from the point of view of a character if he isn’t the protagonist.
The problem with the film is that the film only resolved the conflicts of one of the protagonists. Mike ends up starting a relationship with Cody Horn’s Brooke (Adam’s sister) and quits stripping to follow his dreams of making furniture. The follow-his-dreams-part is never explicitly said, but it is implied. Adam is absent from the end film. In fact, the audience doesn’t know much about what happens to Adam after the incident with the drug dealers. We know that he’s going to move Miami, but we are unsure of whether or not he’s found a purpose. His omission from the ending of the film, along with the lack of resolution of his story line isn’t satisfying. It impoverishes the ending of the film. It is the huge flaw with Magic Mike. If Adam had been a supporting character, or had a scene closer to the end that resolved his story line, it would have been a much strong film. As it is, it’s still a charming film that features some wonderful cinematography and characters. And some of the best scenes of beautiful celebrities gyrating. Here’s a video of the dancing that you’ve been waiting for. You’ve earned it.
If you agree with me or have a different opinion on the film, please leave comments. I would love to hear your thoughts.