Tatum Fans Are Smiling
Since Magic Mike was first announced, the idea of a movie about male strippers caused big buzz among females. That only heightened when the cast list released included “strippers” Channing Tatum as Magic Mike, Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, and Alex Pettyfer as The Kid.
Mike has been stripping at Dallas’ Club Xquisite for several years, hoping to save enough money to make his dream of designing furniture a reality. For Mike, the screaming dames, razzmatazz and dollar bills add up to just another night closer to his dream. Although he’s kind of involved with a girl, it seems to be a physical relationship.
After Mike meets a kid on the street who appears to be having some bad luck, he takes the 19-year-old Adam (Pettyfer) under his wings. Adam has been living with his sister Brooke (Cody Horn), who tries her best to keep him on the straight and narrow. When she finds out Adam has dropped out of college, she’s furious.
Mike drags Adam to the club to help out around the place, but when he watches the other guys bring in a thong full of money, he decides he can dance as well. Dallas starts him as a stand-in when one of the other dancers doesn’t show up. Adam gets his own stage name as The Kid, and takes to this line of work like a baby to a bottle.
As Adam’s mentor, Mike often ends up in contact with Brooke and although she’s mad at him for getting Mike into this unfavorable world, Mike takes a liking to her.
Once this story got rolling, there was less and less screaming – okay until another hot shot or Tatum hit the stage wiggling everything they’ve got, but the drama of the plot kind of takes over. It helps that Steven Soderbergh’s direction keeps an even pace with the stripper hype and compelling story.
Tatum is probably the hottest talent in Hollywood lately, so fans will definitely enjoy watching him dance and disrobe in this film. But he also pulls off a very believable and sincere multi-layered character who realizes it’s time to get serious about life. The fact that he was a male stripper for a short time in his late teens might have something to do with this easy-going portrayal.
There’s no full frontal nudity, but plenty of everything else. McConaughey has really buffed up, and as the owner of the club and an older striper, he still makes the women swoon. Pettyfer does okay on the stage -- but really shows his skills as Adam faces bigger complications when his character continues on a roller-coaster lifestyle that heads toward more trouble than he was in when Mike found him.
Who is this movie for? That’s an interesting question. The audience at the screening I attended was about 25 percent men. And, surprisingly, male critics are giving the film higher ratings than female critics. Magic Mike is funny and sexy but definitely “R” rated; so men or women need to keep that in mind when thinking about tagalongs.
(Released by Warner Bros. and rated “R” for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use.)
Review also posted at www.reviewexpress.com.