Prior to Channing Tatum's impressive rise through Hollywood, the actor briefly became a stripper - his experiences becoming the basis for 'Magic Mike', an idea he brought to acclaimed director Steven Soderbergh on the set of their 2011 film 'Haywire'. The result is a feature that never quite feels fulfilling in either a dramatic or comedic sense.
'Magic Mike' explores the world of male stripping from the perspective of Mike (Tatum), a thirty year old jack-of-all-trades/entrepreneur, and Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a nineteen year old college drop-out. The duo work at a club owned by the ambitious Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), who hopes to expand his strip club empire.
Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn) disapproves of his new career choice but Mike convinces her that he'll be well looked after. The lifestyle of the strippers enraptures Adam, as he settles in and enjoys the money and casual sex. Soon though, he takes a wrong turn, causing strife not just for himself, but for Brooke and Mike.
From the outset, 'Magic Mike' seeks to provoke - Matthew McConaughey grabbing his arse and crotch, Channing Tatum's bum and a topless scene for Olivia Munn all appear within the first few minutes of the film. Later, a penis being pumped appears in the foreground of a shot. Yet that's about as dramatic as the film gets.
Emotional beats are hit between Adam, Mike and Brooke but only on rare occassions, do they prove effective. Similarly, moments of comedy do appear and engage the viewer but these occur all too infrequently. Although I have nothing against either Pettyfer or Tatum (who I rather enjoyed in '21 Jump Street', perhaps more charismatic actors would have carried the film more successfully.
The film is generally visually interesting at least, thanks to Soderbergh's contrasting cinematography of the hazy outside world and the vivid dance routines means. 'Magic Mike' is visually interesting for many, in another sense, of course. However, if this is indeed one of the final films of Steven Soderbergh's career - he has threatened retirement on several occasions in the recent past - then it's unlikely to go down as one of his finest.
- Extended Dance Scenes
- Dance Play Mode
- Backstage featurette
There are surprisingly few special features on the 'Magic Mike' DVD, although if you were titillated by the dance sequences in the film, then you probably won't mind. You can even watch them all in a row with the Dance Play Mode. The backstage feature offers some insight, although once again, largely revolves around the dance sequences.
'Magic Mike' is out today on Blu-ray and DVD. Purchase at amazon.co.uk.