Comparing and Contrasting Magic Mike and Burlesque

The critically unclaimed Burlesque came out in 2010, two years before Magic Mike would grace the screen as one of Steven Soderbergh’s final movies. The parallels between Burlesque and Magic Mike are both obvious and subtle, and neither one spares any expense on offering eye candy for all genders, with a lot of help from some vibrant cinematography choices.

Cher as Tess, the resident madame of the Burlesque Lounge is a lot like Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, the owner of Xquisite, in Magic Mike
Cher as Tess, the resident madame of the Burlesque Lounge is a lot like Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, the owner of Xquisite, in Magic Mike
In Steven Antin’s first–and possibly last–directorial feature, he shows us a world that only the most fantastical older gay gentleman could dream of, but also one that sets the tone for what we would eventually see in Magic Mike two years later. Antin, who has also acted (see: The Goonies) and written screenplays (see: Gloria–the one with Sharon Stone, not that foreign movie that recently came out), tackles Burlesque as anyone with multi-faceted industry experience would: With beaucoup de dancing, makeup, costuming and music to distract from any sort of plausible plotline.
Exterior of the Burlesque Lounge, which doesn't look that dissimilar from Xquisite in Magic Mike
Exterior of the Burlesque Lounge, which doesn’t look that dissimilar from Xquisite in Magic Mike
And, beyond the obvious similarities, like the directors of both movies sharing the same first name and the main characters in each story proving to be damaged goods who find solace in clothing minimization and removal, there are also less noticeable comparabilities, like the choreography exhibited by Tatum and Aguilera. While one could essentially say that Magic Mike is the male version of Burlesque, you can’t really say that about the audience it’s intended for.
Putting on a show with costumes is just as much a key part of Magic Mike as Burlesque
Putting on a show with costumes is just as much a key part of Magic Mike as Burlesque
In all probability, only generally very sexually confused people or post-20s types are interested in Burlesque, tending to be male. With Magic Mike, it’s all about appealing to women of all ages and twinks. I suppose therein lies the primary difference: Demographic targeting–which is interesting considering how two plots with so many parables could attract such divergent enthusiasts.