“Magic Mike” is really Channing Tatum’s story. It’s loosely based on the actor’s actual experiences as a stripper. It tracks his character’s journey from clothes-removal mentor to Alex Pettyfer to grown man wondering when it’s time to get a real job. And it gives Tatum an opportunity to remind us that, when it comes to dance moves, “The Vow” star remains more than capable of “stepping up.”
He is very likable in the role, as the Post’s Ann Hornaday notes in her review of the film. But with all due respect to Channing Tatum, for my money, he is not the most compelling guy in “Magic Mike.” That honor goes to Matthew McConaughey, who infuses the role of Dallas, the boss of a Tampa male dance revue, with twangy swagger, oily charm and a creepy megalomania that is super-appealing and completely repellent all at once.
Here are six reasons why Matthew McConaughey is the best thing in “Magic Mike.” (Note: Some minor spoilers follow.)
6. The twang is in full effect.
McConaughey’s Texas drawl is laid on thi-ii-iiick in this movie. Even when he’s praising his boys for their high achievements in the field of revealing their private parts, he sounds like the charming Southern baseball coach who is really psyched that his guys just won in extra innings.
5. He dresses kind of like a a sleazy version of Woody from “Toy Story.”
Throughout much of the film, McConaughey is wearing this ensemble.
Obviously Andy’s toy best friend dressed far more appropriately: his pants weren’t tight and made of leather; he kept his shirt on. But McConaughey’s Dallas clearly has a cowboy fixation that, possibly, started during years spent playing with a Western pal of his own. At least that’s my working theory right now. (He also suggests to patrons of his club that it’s okay if they reach for something. But, uh, it isn’t the sky.)
4. McConaughey sings!
And he does it while strumming a guitar!
3. His home decor choices take self absorption to new heights.
During the scene at Dallas’s pad, check out the surroundings for signs that McConaughey’s character is really, really in love with himself.
2. He is really, really good at teaching Alex Pettyfer how to be a stripper.
In a scene that is oddly reminiscent of the moment in “Dirty Dancing” where Patrick Swayze helps Jennifer Grey learn to move her hips, McConaughey tutors Pettyfer in the art of the bump-and-grind while delivering a simultaneously comical and inspiring speech about how to convince each woman in the audience that he’s “the husband they never had.”
1. McConaughey is basically playing a slightly darker, sexier and seamier version of Wooderson from “Dazed & Confused.”
I haven’t heard McConaughey say “All right, all right, all right” this many times in one film since the Richard Linklater classic that launched his career. I have long contended that the actor was at his best in that movie. He comes pretty close to matching the genius of that portrayal in “Magic Mike.” My only disappointment is that he didn’t do a striptease to Bob Dylan’s “Hurricane”; that would have brought things completely full circle.
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