Directed By: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn, Cody Horn, Matthew McConaughey
Screenplay: Reid Carolin
UK Release Date: 11th July -UK
Quick Plot: After losing out on his football scholarship due to a fist fight, young and ruthless Adam moves to Tampa, Florida to live with his sister in hope of making money quickly and easily. After acquainting with Mike, he is quickly introduced to the glamorous lifestyle of stripping, women and most importantly, money.
Review: Supposedly Soderbergh and his Haywire co-star, Mr Channing Tatum, sat down and discussed the teenage years of Tatum’s stripper life, inspiring the story for Magic Mike. All the while the ex-stripper’s input to the film’s authenticity is very clear to see. Of course, the film is hot. I mean HOT. But this is another Soderbergh masterpiece in a way that it’s something unexpected for his filmography but at the same time, his signature style is all over it.
British hottie Alex Pettyfer is the closest to Tatum’s real past as Adam- or The Kid as he is later known by the boys. Naive, lazy and arrogant, Pettyfer is out of a football scholarship due to a fistfight, and needs to find a way of making money. Despite his sister’s efforts to help, The Kid doesn’t get on board, until newly acquainted Mike asks him to rally round girls to a club and help set up the props for the show at the male stripper club Xquisite. Unsurprisingly, The Kid’s a hit with the very generously paying female customers, so the head of the club, Dallas (McConaughey), and The Kid waste no time thinking over the obvious job offer. The Kid is introduced to the glamorous world of stripping, compiling of a tough buff routine, drug infused parties, women every night and most importantly the lots of money.
It’s certainly been Channing Tatum’s year, with recent recognition from critics for his hilarious role in 21 Jump Street; he seems to be breaking out of his Nic Sparks heartbroken-war-hero/dancer-boy shell. Magic Mike is Tatum’s breakthrough, putting more passion and energy into this role and finally playing a character that is intelligent and genuine! Not that his dancing should be scrapped because boy, can he dance! Tatum’s talents are on full display in Magic Mike and I’m hoping they are going to stick around for a while.
Fortunately for the world, Alex Pettyfer’s psychical body and acting talent is growing up, adding an impressive performance to his résumé with The Kid. He is painfully arrogant, typically naive but it adds to the quite fascinating character structure within Magic Mike. Newbie Cody Horn as The Kid’s responsible big sister is an absolute delight to watch, to put it simply. Resembling a slight Julia Stiles ‘10 Things’ Kat Stratford, she acts as fresh air to the film’s egocentric male vanity scene. Horn is the only real thing for Magic Mike, both the film and Mike himself. McConaughey‘s wicked and douchey Dallas deserves a few mentions purely for being a superb obnoxious creep.
As much as the hot stripper routines are a treat for the eyes, this is still a perfectly solid Soderbergh film. Its warm colours juxtaposed with the, sometimes, alarming moments of the film really make for an excellent piece of filmmaking. Though it sounds silly to write, this is a real film about real characters and real situations, and Soderbergh nails it! Nothing is sugar-coated to make Magic Mike appear funny or typical, even at the times where it’s meant to feel uncomfortable. Though it’s a big statement, this could be one of Soderbergh’s best.
This isn’t just a stripper movie. Magic Mike reveals the background to the seemingly glamorous lifestyle, uncovering the dark areas and revealing the truth of what stripping really is. There are no underlying clichés or irritating fake characters, instead a solid absorbing story with a cast who obviously give everything they got.
If you don’t appreciate Magic Mike for its clever screenplay, gritty atmosphere and marvellous performances, you can still have a good time watching lots of ABtastic (sorry) dance routines.