Jul 18 2012 by Ian Bunting, Airdrie & Coatbridge
MAGIC Mike stars Channing Tatum as the titular male stripper who teaches new performer Adam (Alex Pettyfer) how to party, pick up women, and make money.
Under the watchful eye of club manager Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), the pair quickly bond but are forced to make some difficult decisions that will affect their future.
Let me start out by saying that Magic Mike is definitely one for the ladies.
The male flesh on show would be enough to fill 10 raunchy office calendars; heck it takes all of two minutes for Tatum to show off his naked backside.
But for those interested in more than impressive male physiques, is there much else here? Kind of... sort of... a little...
You might be surprised to hear that director Steven Soderbergh (Traffic, Erin Brockovich) is behind the camera and he offers up some of his traditional visual flair and impressive musical accompaniments.
Most scenes are dimly lit and there’s a natural, yellow sunset-like colour throughout.
Soderbergh’s camerawork also makes it look like he is listening into conversations, placed in the back seats of cars, over shoulders, at waist-high, low-angle levels and with plenty of close-ups.
Another highlight is the performance of McConaughey. After a gripping turn in last year’s The Lincoln Lawyer, McConaughey continues his career renaissance as a charismatic character with a hint of danger and steel underneath and a very potty mouth.
Tatum’s output has horrified me in the past but credit where credit is due, he was very funny in last outing 21 Jump Street and he’s in his element here. And so he should be.
Debut big screen writer Reid Carolin wrote the screenplay based on a semi-autobiographical tale of Tatum’s time as a stripper when he was 19.
Mike’s courtship of Adam’s headstrong sister Brooke (Cody Horn) is pretty sweet and the ‘choreography’ of the dance scenes is a long way off Robert Carlyle swaying to Tom Jones in The Full Monty.
But the film’s biggest flaw is there’s just not much to it.
Carolin’s story is so slight that it relies heavily on a male comradery reminiscent of other movies like The Fast and the Furious, Lords of Dogtown and Alpha Dog.
Despite the title, the film’s initial focus is on Adam and while Pettyfer does a decent job during his group initiation scenes (Madonna’s Like a Virgin plays over his debut dance), it’s clear that Mike is the star of the show and focus switches to him accordingly.
A two-hour running time stretches Carolin’s story and most of it is spent hopping from dancing performances to parties.
He attempts to inject some late dramatic heft with drug-based shenanigans but it’s too forced and unexplored.
But who am I kidding, ladies. I doubt many of you will be going along to see Magic Mike for the strong story and characters.
And in matters of the male form, the movie certainly delivers.
For everyone else, McConaughey, Tatum and Soderbergh shine and... that’s about it.
Rating – 6 out of 10.