Review: Magic Mike (2012)

Channing Tatum stars as the titular character in Magic Mike, a film that is about a lot more than male stripping alone

Not since 1997’s The Full Monty has there been such anticipation surrounding a film about strippers. Featuring a much younger cast, Magic Mike, directed by Steven Soderbergh, is loosely based on actor Channing Tatum’s own experiences working as a stripper with Tatum playing the titular lead.

Mike has his life sorted; by day he is an entrepreneur working at a construction site as well as owning a mobile detailing business, by night he is Magic Mike, lead performer at the Xquisiste Club owned by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). Mike is working towards his dream of building custom made furniture and stripping is helping him get the money he needs for a down payment.

On one particular job he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a down on his luck guy who isn’t really sure what he wants to do and lives with his sister Brooke. After getting Adam into the club Mike soon take him under his wing and becomes known as The Kid. What then occurs is a lot of dancing, a lot of stripping, and a story in between.

From its trailer it would be easy to assume that Magic Mike is an outrageous comedy. However what you actually see is a film that is more a cross between Saturday Night Fever and The Wrestler with a watered down version of Boogie Nights thrown in, making the film much more interesting. The tone of the story and how it is shot adds to this feel and at some points it almost seems like you are watching a documentary. The film doesn’t solely focus on the obvious element of its star Tatum taking his clothes off, it has a lot more depth and an insight into how your world can change as soon as money and a certain amount of power come into play.

The cast of Magic Mike is very good. Tatum, having played a variety of teen eye candy roles makes an impressive turn here as Mike, although the audience can get easily side-tracked by his amazing dance skills and body. His relationship with Adam’s sister Brooke is nice to watch as it isn’t that obvious and you can never tell whether or not they will get together. She disapproves of his lifestyle and questions his moral compass. Their exchanges of words almost seem improvised which only make it more watchable. At some points there doesn’t seem to be a script but more of a hidden camera capturing the dialogue between the cast which is really refreshing.

Alex Pettyfer is adding more and more to his CV and his turn here as Adam will do nothing to tarnish that – if anything more roles could come flooding in. He is brooding and quiet but you can see a wanting behind his eyes and his character will always do what he wants to do. Matthew McConaughey is hilarious, his deep southern draw and some ridiculous outfit choices just add to his charm.

Will a possible Magic Mike sequel be on the cards to pull Soderbergh out of retirement again? Let’s hope so.

Best line: ‘You don’t want to see what I have to do for $20.’
Best performance: Channing Tatum.
Best scene: It’s Raining Men & teaching The Kid the moves.
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