6 Pack Abs + Gyrating Hips + Over Indulgence + Moral Collapse = MAGIC MIKE.
Inspired by Channing Tatum’s pre-Hollywood hunk days as a stripper, Oscar Winning Director, Steven Soderbergh, (Traffic) makes a gritty film which follows entrepreneurial minded Magic Mike, Channing Tatum (The Vow, 21 Jump Street) as he navigates being a daytime roofer, auto detailer and discarded materials furniture maker to a nighttime hustler and stripper.
Mike befriends down-on-his-luck Adam, “the Kid”, Alex Pettyfer (Tormented) and introduces him to the lifestyle of a stripper which involves excesses of money, drugs and women.
The male strip club, Xquisite, is run by slick, shady and ridiculously funny “Dallas”, played by Matthew McConaughey (Lincoln Lawyer). Dallas seems an exaggerated version of the real McConaughey. It’s entertaining watching as Dallas teaches The Kid how to move and gyrate his body when stripping, all the while donning short shorts and a midriff baring small t-shirt.
Mike’s fellow strippers in all their six-pack glory include the handsome Ken, Matt Bomer, tattooed wild man Tarzan, Kevin Nash, Latino hottie Tito, Adam Rodriguez and Richie, Joe Manganiello.
In the backstage scenes, Soderbergh captures little snippets of conversations of guys just getting ready to work. Richie leaning over a sewing machine repairing his sparkly thong as other’s pump iron depicts an odd yet diverse grouping.
But make no mistake; Magic Mike is the real deal as a dancer. Not since Tatum did Step Up have we been privy to see his level of dancing artistry.
There’s an undercurrent of a mutual interest between Mike and Adam’s sister, Brooke played by newcomer, Cody Horn. This attraction is usually at odds because of Mike and her brother’s nighttime profession and friction escalates as Adam life spirals out of control.
As a lover of dancing all the dance scenes including “It’s Raining Men” where the group are all in trench coats with umbrellas are really well choreographed, beautifully executed and entertaining.
The fact that Soderbergh is directing a movie like this compared to his other works like Oceans 11, makes it difficult at moments to accept that it really was him who directed this. The pacing at some points felt swift and jumpy, almost like an action film. He loses his directing place a few brief moments, but snaps back into the groove.
Some scenes did however seem pointless. When the male stripper offers the use of his topless wife to Adam, it felt like gratuitous nudity. The relationship between Magic Mike and Brooke is often forced and the spiral down of Adam after the excess of alcohol and drugs is graphic. McConaughey might play a slick and sleazy character, his natural charm still oozes through. He is the kind of actor where his charm and aura will most likely outweigh any character he plays, good or bad.
Make no mistake; this movie is a hard R. Nudity (full back male and female and top female), language and sexually graphic scenes.
I give MAGIC MIKE 3 out of 5 gold lame’ g-strings!