It may cost you a few singles but Magic Mike shows some of the hottest men in Hollywood take off their shirts, pants and what little they wear underneath. But this stripper film is about more than just some g-strings, great abs and gyrating hips. Director Steven Soderbergh (Erin Brockovich, Contagion) may have been shooting under his pseudonym Peter Andrews but it’s not hard to miss his skill of pulling the best out of his leading actors.
Set in Tampa Florida Magic Mike tells the story of Mike (Channing Tatum), a part-time roofer who dreams of becoming a custom furniture designer while saving all the singles he earns stripping in the seedy nightclub Xquisite. A chance encounter with Adam (Alex Pettyfer) is the beginning of the end of his stripping career.
Mike takes Adam under his wing and mentor-protégé relationship develops. At first it’s all fun and games and the two hot male strippers enjoy the single life and spending the ones stuck in their underwear. But Adam’s protective older sister Brooke (Cody Horn) isn’t happy with the changes she sees in her little brother and sees Mike as the culprit when things go wrong. But as the story progresses Mike discovers that the life he is leading isn’t the answer to his dreams and he struggles to see what and how he can change.
Tatum is perfectly cast in the role of Magic Mike and shows he hasn’t forgotten how to move since Step Up and performs acrobatic back-flips and sexy dance moves to prove it. But he is more than just a very sexy body in this movie, it is in the quite moments, particularly partnered with Horn or Pettyfer where his true ability shines through. As a producer on this film the idea behind the script came from his own personal experience as a 19-year old stripper at the beginning of his career, so maybe that is why his portrayal is so raw and real.
Pettyfer holds his own as the bashful newbie stripper, who leaves his socks on, who then succumbs to the lure of the night-life glamour. But even at his best he can’t steal the scene away from Tatum whose charm and screen presents out shines him.
But the true star of this movie is Matthew McConaughey whose supporting role as the leathery, overly tanned club-owner and old-time stripper Dallas couldn’t be more cheesy, more greasy and more of a self parody. Seeing him prance around in his ridiculous hats and outfits makes the film worth seeing on it’s own.
Magic Mike is hard to but into one genre as it is not a date-night film, the poor lads will never live up to the expectations given on screen, and it is not a chick-flick either as it is grittier than expected. But even though the ending is a little disappointing and one can’t help but feel let down or that the story ran out, Magic Mike is a good film with strong actors and surprising moments. And if you can look past the fact that Sonderbergh fell a little too in love with his yellow filter that taints many of the scenes and gives them a vintage feel, Magic Mike gives a little insight into a milieu most of us don’t know and isn’t afraid to be a bit controversial.