Magic Mike

Words by Nick Hilton.

It’s interesting to see a slightly offbeat Sundance style drama earning queues of screaming fans outside the cinema. It probably helps if your film is about male strippers and stars Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer in predominantly topless roles. The film, supposedly (although I’d think tenuously at best) based on Tatum’s former career, follows the lives of a group of strippers as they find their way in the world, enjoying the highs and suffering the lows. It’s a pretty standard morality tale but the setting makes the whole thing a little bit more interesting.

At the heart of the film are Pettyfer and Tatum, as the rookie and the jaded old man respectively. They both deliver excellent performances and are, let’s face it, pretty good at dancing around naked. It’s interesting that they should be the emotional heart of the film, which leaves the characters, who, on paper, might’ve looked more sympathetic, to orbit somewhat uselessly. Cody Horn is particularly guilty of this as Tatum’s love interest. If there’s a crucial moment where she shows an appealing side then I must’ve missed it.

There are about two too many montages of people dancing and the second half is tonally uneven as Soderbergh desperately searches for some conflict. Drugs and Olivia Munn are shoehorned in as plot devices and feel considerably less organic than the opening scenes, which are both tender and self-aware. It’s a shame that the film doesn’t know what to do with itself once it gets going because the acting is good and the premise is original. If you go into it looking for naked men with more abs than an abacus then you probably won’t be disappointed.

An interesting film which manages to be more than the sum of its parts but ends up being slightly disappointing all the same.

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Title: Magic Mike
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Alex Pettyfer, Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn
Running Time: Just under 2 hours
Certificate: 15

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