Topics:  magic mike, movie review

Movie review: Magic Mike

Matthew McConaughey, centre, pictured with Channing Tatum, third from right, in a scene from the movie Magic Mike.
Matthew McConaughey, centre, pictured with Channing Tatum, third from right, in a scene from the movie Magic Mike. Contributed - Roadshow Films publicity website

A SURPRISE package, Magic Mike is more than just a gratuitous perve fest with flex appeal.

It is a surprisingly emotionally driven almost anthropological glimpse into the male strip scene.

On the surface the film is full of glitz and glamour, chiselled abs and bulging biceps.

The dance routines themselves are a fun romp and the performances and bodies of the male stars can't be faulted.

But surprisingly where the film shines is off the stage when the clothes come back on. Strip back an emotional layer and director Steven Soderbergh has crafted a serious story of testosterone-fuelled philosophy.

Where you might expect fantasy, Soderbergh hits you with reality.

In a similar vein to films such as Showgirls and Saturday Night Fever it showcases a wild world complete with the trappings of excess.

The story follows the transformation of the Kid (Alex Pettyfer) from shy guy who can barely take his clothes off without tripping over into a slick and oiled up superstar performer after he is introduced into the world of male stripping by a veteran stripper, Mike (Channing Tatum).

Young and immature, he can't resist the temptations and trappings that come with such a lifestyle.

Rather than the just a typical cautionary tale of excess, under the hand of Soderbergh, he takes a different approach and presents the film from the viewpoint of Mike, who becomes a mentor to the Kid and and begins to question the limitations of his lifestyle.

More than just a beautiful buff body in a thong Tatum brings a hearty dose of sensitivity, intelligence and vulnerability to the role.

Matthew McConaughey thrives in this recasting of his self-satisfied narcissism and Pettyfer is a brilliant blend of arrogance and naivety.

But unfortunately the film, unlike Tatum's abs, is not perfect. It feels unfinished, like a cake taken out of the oven only moments before it is cooked which sadly detracts from the emotional punch of the film.

Chiselled abs and bare buttocks aside, this stripper's story could have revealed a little more.

 

Magic Mike

  • Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer
  • Director: Steven Soderbergh
  • Rated: MA15+
  • Verdict: Three out of four stars


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