Movie review: Magic Mike (M)

SEEING a film about male strippers might be part of my job description but that doesn’t mean I don’t dread it.

Magic Mike has had a long, hard marketing campaign aimed directly at women who want to see Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer take their clothes of and jiggle around on stage.

So for me, there was only one way to get an idea of what girls saw in this film: go along with a harem of girlfriends on a girls night out.

With a near full cinema of gossiping, giggling and gasping, the sea of estrogen contained two other guys in the audience.

I have no idea if it was their girlfriends choice of film on date night or if they were looking for tips for the dance floor on a Saturday night.

The plot is simple enough with Mike (Tatum) taking pity on down-on-his-luck, unemployed and lazy Adam (Pettyfer). Mike introduces him to the world of male stripping while trying to get his custom-made furniture business off the ground. But like classic stripper films Flashdance, Striptease andr Showgirls, the audience isn’t really there for the plot, they just want to see people dance.

The film also has an autobiographical element to it with lead actor Channing Tatum making his way to Hollywood by way of erotic entertainment.

The support cast leaves a lot to be desired with love interest Brooke (Cody Horn) portrayed as an expressionless girl with an annoying laugh.

And with ex-wrestler and awkward mover Kevin Nash as a seven foot tall stripper, it gives the film an even more awkward feel.

But it doesn’t mean I want to cop an eyeful of arse from the first frame. At least build to it.

One of the most surprising aspects of this film was having director Steven Soderbergh on board.

Soderbergh is responsible for some classic and high quality films.

He was at the helm for the Oceans films, Oscar-winning film Erin Brockovich, cult favourite Out of Sight and the disease-riddled Contagion.

All great films, which leads to the question: How did Steven Soderbergh go from Oceans 11 and Erin Brockovich to an emotionless film with a watery plot about male strippers?

The positive to take out of Magic Mike is that even Soderbergh can make the sleazy, awkward and downright uncomfortable world of male stripping classy.

Magic Mike is full of clever, artistic cinema and early on even garners a couple of genuine laughs based around genatalia and clever camera work.

Even some of the choreography and creativity of the performances is commendable.

But seriously ladies, if you’re going to go and pay $15 dollars to see guys on film dance around a stage while half naked, make a proper girls night of it and go see some Chippendales in the flesh.

The show will be just as good and the storyline even better.

The Verdict: 2 stars. 

Magic Mike (M) is now showing at Bendigo Cinemas. See page 3 of the Bendigo Advertiser for session details.


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