Magic Mike (2012) Directed by Steven Soderbergh. With Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Muun and Cody Horn.
Many aspects of Steven Soderbergh’s strip club drama comedy, Magic Mike, scream of the 1980’s. It’s a film that would play comfortably as a companion piece to Dirty Dancing, or any one of a host of cheesed-up productions with a power rock soundtrack from that era. Yet still, it also exists as a cautionary tale, showcasing how wrong a good time can go. Behind the magic, lies sadness.
The film stars Channing Tatum as the titular Mike – an experienced stripper who takes a naive young kid (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing, and in doing so, introduces him to a new world of opportunity.
First off, the strip shows are very well staged. The enjoyment of the cast is plain to see and in his central role, Tatum gives a fine physical performance, letting rip with some full-on dance floor attitude. Threatening to steal the show is Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, the charismatic owner of the Kings of Tampa hotspot. McConaughey drips with pure, unadulterated sleaze, supplying most of the laughs in the process.
To its credit, Magic Mike is more than a cheap whoop-and-a-giggle. Outside the fun of the shows, more sinister developments gain traction as Soderbergh warns of the perils of too much of a good thing. Additionally, Tatum’s popularity with women in his role as Magic Mike, amplifies his loneliness, which feeds an inability to properly connect with them outside of his raunchy routine.
Had the film been released in the 1980’s, its grittier moments might have been shaved down, but there’s no doubting it’d be up there as a chick-flick classic. In the end, it’s about love, friendship and loyalty, with a side order of greased up ‘pecs’ – although at no stage does anyone carry a watermelon. 3.5/5