Director: Steven Soderbergh
MPAA Rating: R
Film Pulse Score: 7.5/10
Director Steven Soderbergh proves once again, that he is not only one of Hollywood’s most diverse filmmakers, but also simply one of the best. While Magic Mike may not be a triumph, Soderbergh still manages to weave together an entertaining story with his trademark visual style.
Magic Mike tells the story of Mike (Channing Tatum), a part-time roofer, car detailer, and custom furniture maker, who also happens to moonlight as a stripper. While stripping pays his bills, Mike’s true passion is his custom furniture, which he is desperately trying to get funding for. One day while working at his roofing gig, Mike meets a young man named Adam (Alex Pettyfer), the two hit it off, and Adam becomes the new recruit in Mike’s merry band of strippers.
This Tampa-based all-male revue is lead by Matthew McConaughey, essentially reprising his role from Dazed and Confused, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. Joe Manganiello (True Blood), Kevin Nash (The Longest Yard), Matt Bomer (White Collar), and Adam Rodriguez (CSI: Miami) round out the group, and with the exception of Nash, all seem at home in their roles. The guys actually have lines in the movie, and provide more than just eye-candy for the female (or certain male) audience.
Channing Tatum is obviously the star of the show, and provides another breakout performance. Between Haywire, 21 Jump Street, and now Magic Mike, Tatum is poised to enter A-list status as someone who’s not just a pretty face, but has the acting chops to back it up. Please note, that it’s with heavy reluctance that I admit this, as I never thought he would develop any sort of real acting abilities.
From a visual standpoint, Magic Mike is great. The film drips with Soderbergh’s interesting edits and camerawork, and his beloved yellow filter makes a return, making everything look warm, gritty, and stylish all at once. There were a few moments that the yellow filter was slightly distracting, but overall it wasn’t a huge issue.
The only real problems with this film arise from the plot itself. Rather than vying for one solid, arching plot, we have several subplots, which tend to feel unfinished. While this didn’t hurt the film in a big way, it still prevented it from ascending to something more than just a cautionary tale with some romance and comedy mixed in for good measure.
Sure, you will see some male nudity in Magic Mike. However, it doesn’t feel exploitative, or too awkward, and shouldn’t be considered when deciding to go see this film. Go see the film for what it is, a wonderfully shot, entertaining piece of cinema, brought to you by one of the best directors currently working in the business.