Story: Professional male stripper ‘Magic’ Mike (Channing Tatum) takes pity on the stranded 19 year old Adam (Alex Pettyfer). He introduces him to Dallas’ (Matthew McConaughey) strip club. While Adam discovers the glamorous but seedy world of male stripping, Mike – nearing 30 – reconsiders his life and his options, especially after meeting Adam’s sister Joanna (Cody Horn)
Who’d have guessed that a film about male stripping could be this entertaining? No wait. Scrap ‘entertaining’. Replace it with ‘good’. For this is an excellent film. It is loosely based on Channing Tatum’s own experiences in his former career as a male stripper. I have never been a big fan of Channing Tatum. I don’t think he really is an actor. He is an incredibly good-looking guy with just enough natural charm to engage an audience. He was decent in 21 Jump Street, earlier this summer. But in this, where he is basically playing himself, he is really good.
The thing he does best is to play his title character, ‘Magic Mike’, very small. Whenever he is not on stage driving hordes of drunk women crazy he is a very quiet and charming young man, who’d rather be a carpenter than a dancer. In the shadow of Tatum’s quiet performance Matthew McConaughey can excel as veteran and club owner Dallas. And he is amazing; radiating energy, kindness and at one point menace. Don’t be surprised if McConaughey, who appears to be reinventing himself as an actor after years of dreary romcoms, pops up on awards lists come the end of the year. Next to Tatum and McConaughey, Cody Horn and Alex Pettyfer struggle to make their roles interesting, especially Munn. However, this is down to the writing, and both young actors manage quite well in the end.
But this is really Steven Soderbergh’s film The extremely productive and prolific director is someone with a deeply personal style, who nonetheless makes very different movies. There is no way of comparing Magic Mike to Ocean’s Eleven, The Informant or Contagion. Except in one way: in all these films Soderbergh likes to use extremely long shots. And he films the action from unexpected angles, thereby letting you see things you’d otherwise never notice.
Final verdict: Magic Mike looks gorgeous, is a typical Steven Soderbergh film,does not let the female fans of Tatum and McConaughey down in the naked-men bits and even has a few laughs in store. Excellent!