Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Magic Mike - Movie Review


Starring Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Riley Keough and Gabriel Iglesias.  Directed by Steven Soderbergh.

★★★½

Arguably the best male-stripper movie ever made.  Arguable because I can't think of another one.

Steven Soderbergh said after the long shoot and quick box-office death of Che that he wasn't going to be as concerned about "art" so much as just making movies that interested him.  When he filmed Haywire with Channing Tatum, he spoke with him about his stripping past and developed a movie out of it.  After Contagion and Haywire, this is Soderbergh's third movie to open in nine months, and none of the three looked rushed.

An engaging element in a movie that centers on a profession is to show us the behind-the-scenes grind of what doing that job actually entails.  Magic Mike is light-hearted in its approach, at first, and it makes being a male stripper look like a much more fun way to earn $200 a night that, say, construction.  The story comes together when Mike (Tatum) takes under his wing a teenage punk named Adam (I Am Number Four's Alex Pettyfer) who needs some money of his own.  We meet the other men who work there, a very unique foursome consisting of Matt Bomer (USA's White Collar), Joe Manganiello (HBO's True Blood), Kevin Nash (Rock of Ages), and Adam Rodriguez (CBS's CSI: Miami).  And they are all led by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), a southern-fried Fagin, fulfilling the fantasies of women all over Tampa Florida in his club.

Naturally, Mike knows he can't dance forever and his real dream is to start his own custom furtniture business.  This contrasts with Adam, who's dropped out of college and seems content for the quick score, eventually dabbling in the ecstasy business.  A movie with that element can only stay light-hearted for so long.

This movie made me appreciate the economy of Soderbergh.  His editing choices never feel too choppy, nor does any scene drag.  He also knows where to put a camera to allow for natural responses from his actors.  The stand-out performance belongs to McConaughey.  Getting away from Kate Hudson rom-coms has done him some good.

1 comment:

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