Channing Tatum's 'Magic Mike' Gets Mixed Reviews From City's Male Strippers

By Mathew Katz on June 27, 2012 2:21pm 

Stripper Julian Mora said he disagreed with the film's moral that you can't have a family and be a male exotic dancer.
Stripper Julian Mora said he disagreed with the film's moral that you can't have a family and be a male exotic dancer.
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Hunk-O-Mania

Warning: this story includes spoilers about the film's ending.

NEW YORK CITY — Male strippers across the city said the new Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey film "Magic Mike" could learn a lot from the real thing.

Veteran male strippers — who were treated to an early screening of the Steven Soderbergh-directed movie — approved of the casting of leading hunk Tatum, who launched his acting actor after being discovered in real life at a strip club in Alabama.

The movie also stars Joe Manganiello of HBO's "True Blood" and Alex Pettyfer of "I am Number Four" as a collection of exotic dancers at a popular strip club.

But they were irritated by the film's Hollywood ending in which Tatum's character, the eponymous Mike, gives up his stripper career in favor of one with more clothes simply because his new girlfriend — Olivia Munn, formerly of the "Daily Show with Jon Stewart" — doesn't approve.

"There's no reason why she shouldn't be accepting of what he was doing," said Armand Peri, owner of NYC's Hunk-O-Mania, USA Hunks and Manhattan Men strip clubs.

Peri, who has been in the business for 20 years and has a wife and kids, said plenty of career dancers keep up their moves long after they start a family.

"Why couldn't he continue utilizing stripping as an outlet and continue to develop his skills and grow?" he added.

Julian Mora, who has danced around the world and runs Hunk-O-Mania's traveling shows, agreed that the movie's moral was that you can't be a stripper and have a family.

"I've been married since 2007, a father since I was 23 years old," said Mora, 42, who still dances regularly.

"The reason I do this is because I love the industry, I love entertaining, I love dancing."

Still, Mora praised the film's realistic depiction of drug use — many characters use GHD or ecstacy while partying or before dancing — adding that it's a real problem in many clubs around the country.

Joe Manganiello plays an experienced male stripper in "Magic Mike."
Joe Manganiello plays an experienced male stripper in "Magic Mike."
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Warner Bros.

"I thought it was a pretty accurate depiction of what I've seen in the industry over the years," he said. "I think it wasn't just in our industry, but 10 or 12 years ago, a lot of people were doing it."

As for individual actor's performances, the dancers had high praise for Tatum.

"The only one I would probably hire for my shows is Channing Tatum — just for his dancing skills, they were up to par," said Peri.

"The rest of the cast were on the skinny side. I would tell them to hit the gym and come back when they're a little bigger."

That goes double for McConaughey's character, club owner Dallas, Peri said.

"He couldn't dance," he said. "His acting was great, but his moves were stiff and his hips weren't flexible."

Peri, on the other hand, said he'd give McConaughey a shot.

"He was funny as an emcee, but when he actually got to perform, he was pretty entertaining," he said. "He has a model-eqsue body — lean and cut up, with muscle tone."

But both men agreed the film's choreography was sub-par.

"One character takes off his pants before taking off his shirt. You don't start with taking your pants off right away," Peri said.

"It's a tease. What's the point of showing the goods beforehand?"

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