Film Review – Magic Mike

Title: Magic Mike

Director: Steven Soderbergh

Starring: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn

Release Date: 11 July 2012

For the most part, Magic Mike, a film which glimpses the lives of a group of male strippers in the fictional Club Xquisite in Tampa, Florida, does exactly what it says on the tin.

Overall, the premise and most of the characters are well-devised. McConaughey’s eccentric character easily steals the show, playing combination club-owner, creative-genius and ecdysiast-extraordinaire Dallas. Sadly, however, many of the main characters are never really fleshed out beyond an initial introduction.

Like the rest of the dancers, Channing Tatum shines on the stage. Outside his erotic routines, however, whatever talent he may have feels wasted as he plays the vapid and forgettable Mike – a tired striptease veteran who’s desperate to escape to a career in furniture design. Screen time is, surprisingly, shared equally between Tatum’s character and Alex Pettyfer’s convincing, by contrast, portrayal of the corruptible Adam (aka ‘The Kid’, because “the cougars will eat him up”).

The same cannot be said of Cody Horn’s performance as the protagonist’s love interest, and wholesome foil to the sordid world that he inhabits, which unfortunately comes off too whiney and unlikeable for the audience to ever sympathise with her point of view, not to mention Mike’s interest in her.

Similarly, when it comes to plot, the film fails dismally. What begins as a promising handful of storylines at the start of the movie, start one-by-one to fall apart like sheets of wet tissue paper as the film progresses, eventually grinding the narrative to a premature halt.

That said, Magic Mike is superbly directed and a visual treat. Director Soderbergh has a keen eye for visuals, and misses no opportunity to seduce the audience with endless location shots featuring the magnificent beaches and alluring urban sprawl of the film’s setting. All of this is set against a variety of equally engrossing musical pieces, indulging the ear just as much as it appeals to the eye.

All in all, as enjoyable as it is, Magic Mike’s miscellaneous parts don’t quite gel together. The plot is a bit too serious for what might otherwise be a campy rom-com excuse for some well-known stars to bear all. Give it a go for the raunchy razzle-dazzle, but don’t expect too much else.

In a Nutshell: Will provide cheap thrills for less than a tenner, but has plot-commitment issues. Will show you a good time but don’t expect anything more.

by Ethan Troy-Barnes