Who knew Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum could be such a magical duo for ‘Magic Mike‘, but they elevate what could’ve been a male ‘Showgirls‘ into something with heart plus plenty of near naked men including Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughy and Adam Rodriguez!
When Steven Soderbergh announced he was doing a male stripper films loosely based on Channing Tatum’s short entry into the world of self-tanning, thongs and intense dance moves, many people frowned, but it wound up being a fortuitous collaboration as the two have truly brought out the best in each other. Soderbergh’s attempts in experimental projects haven’t fared that well, but with ‘Magic Mike‘ he seems like had fun combining the best of himself and bringing out everything in Tatum that keeps bringing women out in droves to see his films. Tatum feels like this is the role he’s been waiting to do all his life and his easy charm that has been on display in earlier films is amped up even more here. His casual approach really works here as he makes it all look so very easy.
Soderbergh feels like he’s channeling a little bit of Robert Altman in some scenes where the dialogue feels very natural and improvised, and there doesn’t feel like any judgement is being passed on these guys for making money peddling their wares. By just allowing the scenes to unfold naturally, there’s a slight cinéma vérité feel along with his trademark yellow hues. It’s also refreshing to see that women can be just as piggish as men in a strip club. We’ve gotten so used to seeing men as louts in those ‘titty bars’ so seeing how pack-like a group of drunken women pouncing on male flesh shows when it comes to these environments, both sexes can bring out their baser selves
By showing some of the funny moments behind the scenes like how the men ‘fluff’ themselves to plump up for their roles will easily make for some great viral videos. Also by having Joe Manganiello play so again type as Big Dick Rickie who’s the most sensitive of the bunch. It’s great to see everyone’s favorite ‘True Blood’ werewolf be funny and use a penis pump (and you get to see it in action too) to help keep him in line with his stage name along with having his back go out during one of his routines with a female audience member.
The main gist of the film is the relationship between Mike and Adam aka The Kid (Alex Pettyfer) and the price of this kind of fame. Whereas Mike wants to make his money so he can live his dream of making furniture, Adam loves the quick money, booze, drugs and girls. Like ‘Requiem For A Dream‘, ‘Magic Mike’ opens making this world of male stripping fun and exciting, but eventually reality hit and we see that with everything, there’s always a price to pay. Soderbergh smartly underplays these scenes rather than having them turn into melodramatic camp, and that’s what brings the heart to this film along with making the audience feel part of the film.
Matthew McConaughy plays Dallas, and this is the role he was born to play. It reminded me of his character from Richard Linklatter’s ‘Dazed and Confused’, Dallas is the type of guy his character would have morphed into. One of the funniest scenes is where he’s giving Pettyfer’s Adam a crash course in grinding. McConaughy reminded me of how great he can be when given the right role and he’s able to turn his good ole boy into a masterful manipulator with an edge on a dime. This is one role where Pettyfer’s very limited range works for him as the wide eyed kid in a candy store.
Thankfully, ‘Magic Mike’ has way more positives than negatives, and it’s a great weekend at the theater between Seth MacFarlane’s ‘Ted‘ and Soderbergh’s ‘Magic Mike’.
Best Movies Ever News Rating: B+
Steven Soderbergh brings out the best in Channing Tatum for a role he was born to play. In what could’ve been a high camp film, ‘Magic Mike’ feels more like a fly on the wall inside look at this world of male bonding and the director shows that he’s back on his game once again. It’s more surprising that a film about male stripping would be the one to do this for him. Everyone in the films adds to it even if many of the roles are on the smaller side while Tatum and Pettyfer are at the middle of it all.