We’ve all seen Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez stripping during It’s Raining Men in the Magic Mike trailer. What filmmakers never imagined is that that song would embody the feeling of the entire movie.
We do not mean that in a male stripper movie type of way. In fact, Magic Mike is a guys’ movie if there ever was one. Seldom have we seen a group of men bond as they do in the latest from director Steven Soderbergh. That is exactly why the film surprisingly sits amongst the great buddy flicks -- whether cop or sport centered -- of recent movie memory.
Channing Tatum Magic Mike -- that’s all you have to say to gather the heart and soul of this picture. Yes, he portrays the title character within a fictionalized account of the actor’s humble show biz start as a male stripper. That is where the similarities between fact and fiction begin and end. Tatum is the main focus of the film and further proves that he is one of those actors to watch. Not only can the man dance, as shown in his breakout film Step Up and again in Magic Mike, but he has depths to his thespian talents that shock.
Tatum’s Mike is a complicated fellow. Yes, he adores the performance aspect of his job. Yes, the money is great. And then there are the after parties that seem to go on for months… but he wants something more. He sees something in The Kid (Pettyfer). The nineteen-year-old he meets on a construction site has a fateful encounter with Mike at one of Tampa’s hotspots. The Kid closes the evening dancing on stage, taking his clothes off and winding up with boxer briefs full of money.
The man who runs the establishment where our man candy crew shake their things is Dallas. As portrayed by Matthew McConaughey, in one of the highlights of his career, he is keenly focused on the bottom line. That means taking the show beyond the geographical confines of Tampa to bigger and better places. Loyalty to him is everything and anyone who has given him their all is set to be along for the rich ride.
McConaughey was born to play several roles in his career: Dazed and Confused, A Time to Kill and now Magic Mike. The native Texan knows this fact and makes the most of his screen persona in Soderbergh’s film. He gives more to his audience than ever -- literally and figuratively.
This Magic Mike review would be empty without mentioning that the strength of the film lies in Soderbergh. He could take a mediocre story and turn it into a decent movie and he has so much character to play with in Magic Mike. While the glittering lights of a male strip revue and a cast game for pushing the envelope on many levels for the sake of their art may entice audiences, the film actually adds up to a bit more magic than expected.