It would be very easy to dismiss Magic Mike as some sort of frivolous exercise in exploitation and rippling movie star abs. Thankfully, this project landed in the hands of director Steven Soderbergh and evolved into a nifty little mixture of bawdy humour, creeping darkness and yes, those all important rippling movie star abs.
The story centres on 30-year-old Mike (the suddenly ubiquitous Channing Tatum), a likable puppy dog of a guy who meets 19-year-old Adam (Alex Pettyfer) by chance and introduces him into the world of male stripping in Tampa,Florida. Mike is one of a team of performers (including Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer and Adam Rodriguez) at a seedy club owned by the oily Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) who acts as sort of a dysfunctional father figure to Mike and eventually Adam (who gets renamed “The Kid”).
Despite being sort of a hustler himself, the otherwise good-hearted Mike promises Adam’s sister (Cody Horn) that he’ll watch over his young protege, and for a while he does, but soon it becomes clear that “The Kid” is not quite strong enough to resist the temptations that his new lifestyle affords.
The best thing about Magic Mike (besides the simply delightful on-stage performances by Channing et al) is the fact that Soderbergh and screenwriter Reid Carolin take care to show you both the fun and not-so-fun bits of reality present in the dressed in nothing but a g-string and bow tie fast lane. The dialogue and performances feel natural and Soderbergh shoots the film in an easy, almost documentary-like manner that further immerses you into the world of Mike and his oiled-up cohorts.
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