Is Soderbergh taking magic mushrooms?

While the film is entertaining throughout, it leaves one feeling unsatisfied. Enjoy it for what it is − a guilty pleasure film for those who are attracted to the male form in its most perfect state. Beyond that and you’re asking for too much.


Magic Mike tells the story of the wonderful world of male stripping in Tampa, Florida. One performer, Mike (Tatum), recruits another into the world of easy money and easy women. Naturally, there’s partying and the serious stuff, interspersed with dance moves and strip teases.


Tatum is very good at what he does. His dance sequences show off real talent in that area, and while we presume Tatum would be great at stripping, since he actually was a stripper prior to becoming a Hollywood A-lister, he exceeds expectations. Tatum is likeable and he plays the good guy well enough, but as a character, Mike is flat and one-dimensional. His eventual story arc is minimal and cliché. The rest of the characters have even less in terms of development.


That being said, McConaughey was born to play the role of Dallas, the former stripper turned business owner (he owns the strip club). This type of film would never win Oscars, but if it did, it would go to McConaughey.


The dance sequences are both entertaining and skillfully choreographed, short enough that they do not drag on and frequent enough that the film remains entertaining for its duration. But the relationships in between the dancing lack emotional substance.


These kinds of films typically reinforce the stereotype of corrupt lifestyles and how bad they are. Unfortunately, this film is no exception. What goes up must come down, as they say.


However, in Magic Mike, the things that go wrong seem not to be that big a deal. The consequences are muted and nothing ever seems to unnerve the ever-calm Mike. The result is a plot without impact or true meaning. 


Steven Soderbergh’s direction brings a serious touch and some serious credit to the film. Regrettably, there was only so much Soderbergh could accomplish with the film’s seemingly subpar script.


Magic Mike (15)

Dir: Steven Soderbergh;

US comedy, 2012, 110 mins;

Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Mathew McConaughey

Premieres: August 23

Playing: Nationwide