Magic Mike represents something of a passion project for lead actor/producer Channing Tatum, who spent his formative years as a stripper. After campaigning this project for some time, it has finally hit theaters under the direction of filmmaking wunderkind Steven Soderbergh. The end result is a sharp and charming movie that debunks the stigma behind male strippers.
The story and plot are relatively simple: a stripper who wants more in life, but the strength lies in Soderbergh’s savvy direction, fun characters, and strong actors. The film presents the world of male stripping not as some haven of debauchery, but as what it actually is: a business. There’s an actual craft to it where being anatomically blessed isn’t enough. Magic Mike himself, played by Tatum, is an anomaly of a character, as he manages to be both an enigmatic Lothario and a diligent everyman. Tatum’s effortless charm and natural gravitas make him a character worth following. There isn’t much in the way of conflict, so most of the entertainment is derived from plot curveballs and the innate humor of viewing stripping as a commonplace job. A lot of these curveballs originate from Alex Pettyfer’s Adam, who acts as a mirror/pure Id version of Mike.
The acting is strong across the board, mostly helped by the actors’ naturalistic sensibilities. A special mention should be made of Matthew McConaughey, whose boisterous on-screen personality is used to great effect. The real star of the film, and the year in general, is easily Tatum. After a slow rise, he seems to have finally reached the A-list status he has so defiantly earned.
A smart script, director, and actors elevate what could have been just a crass joke to a good movie that skewers your expectations.
- Rated: R
- Release Date: 6/29/2012
- Directed by: Steven Soderbergh
- Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Channing Tatum, Cody Horn, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Matthew McConaughey
- Produced by: Channing Tatum, Gregory Jacobs, Nick Wechsler, Reid Carolin
- Written by: Reid Carolin
- Studio: Nick Wechsler Productions, Warner Bros.