3 1/2 stars
It's crazy to oversell "Magic Mike," or fluff it up into something its makers never intended. It is not a major motion picture. It is not searing melodrama, though in story outline terms -- the least interesting terms by which to engage with director
So what is it, then? Inspired by star and producer
The characters don't treat one another like punch lines or idiots. There are no real villains in the piece. Purest corn, "Magic Mike" nonetheless has a human pulse and a sense of humor to go along with its willingness to entertain.
Tatum first worked with the frenetically prolific Soderbergh on the eccentric and (metaphorically) stripped-down "Haywire," which went nowhere and back with the public. I'd be surprised if "Magic Mike" met the same fate. When the project's right, as it was with Soderbergh's "Ocean's 11" remake (and, with diminishing returns, the sequels), the director has a knack for revitalizing the oldest cliches in the book, while setting them at an aesthetic remove.
Soderbergh's also terrific at letting his actors play up to the best of their abilities, whatever their abilities. This is a polite way of saying Tatum, as the construction worker by day who works constructively in a different line of work by night, has never been better. Even if he's not much of an actor -- when things get serious, Tatum appears to be giving birth, painfully, to the simplest of lines of dialogue -- he's increasingly comfortable and likable on screen.
In no time, Mike is introducing The Kid to the wonderful world of the Club Xquisite, where Mike and cohorts bump it, grind it and thong it for the ladies and for the financial well-being of their employer/wrangler, an ex-stripper named
One of the pleasures of "Magic Mike" is its egalitarian spirit and dedication to the ensemble. The budding romance between Mike and The Kid's big sister, played by
Mainstream audiences may wish for more -- more thump in the drama, noisier narrative developments to compete with the generous procession of club routines involving firemen, firemen's hoses and the like. Others, I hope, will take "Magic Mike" the way it is, as a group portrait of a semiexotic species, Strippus americanus. "Women. Money. And a good time." That's what Mike offers The Kid. The key line in the script, though, is McConaughey's insinuating "all right, all right, all right, all RIGHT!" come-on to the Club Xquisite customers, promising much, and then, in its earnestly low-rent yet satisfying way, delivering. The movie does the same.
MPAA rating: R (for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use).
Running time: 1:50.
Credits: Directed by
"Magic Mike" Movie Trailer
<< RETURN TO MOVIE REVIEWS ...
Recent Movie Reviews - Films in Theaters
- Magic Mike
- To Rome With Love
- People Like Us
- Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter
- Seeking A Friend For The End Of The World
- Dark Horse
- Rock of Ages
- Safety Not Guaranteed
- That's My Boy
- Madagascar 3: Europe's Most Wanted
- Peace, Love and Misunderstanding
- Snow White and the Huntsman
- Moonrise Kingdom
- Men in Black 3
- The Dictator
- What to Expect When You're Expecting
- Why Sad Movies Make You Happy
- Dark Shadows
- Sound of My Voice
- The Avengers
- The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel
- The Pirates! Band Of Misfits
- The Raven
- Darling Companion
- Think Like a Man
- The Lucky One
- The Three Stooges
- The Cabin in the Woods
- The Cabin in the Woods
- American Reunion
Copyright © 2012 Tribune Media Services, Inc.