Evening Echo film critic GARATH NAUGHTON says Magic Mike is an OK strip film, but don’t go seeking a deeper message
CEREBRAL indie-film director Steven Soderbergh teams up with Channing Tatum to make a film about the mysterious world of male stripping.
You could not make this stuff up. But it’s a pity that whoever had the imaginative idea to team those two in the first place couldn’t have worked on the horribly conventional script.
Tatum plays Mike, a stripper with big dreams. Yes, that’s right, ladies and gentlemen, like every other stripper in film Mike is so much more than his job. He’s an entrepreneur with a plan. That plan involves eventually leaving the stripping to the young ‘uns while he makes some ugly-ass furniture with bits of wreckage salvaged from Florida’s hurricane ravaged beaches.
Except those damn bankers won’t give Mike some love so he’s saving hard by ripping his clothes off for the amusement of drunken women at Matthew McConnaughey’s strip joint.
He fills the rest of his time partying with his stripper mates and having meaningless sex with what American sitcoms refer to as a “fun buddy”. Sadface.
Into this truly trying existence comes Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a lazy 19-year-old searching for hedonism and a quick buck. After a chance encounter outside a club, Mike ends up taking Adam under his wing and introducing him to the glamorous world of male stripping where he quickly establishes himself as a favourite with the club’s clientele.
Adam has a disapproving sister Brooke (Cody Horn) who dislikes the thought of her feckless brother being objectified by a bunch of baying women. And so Wouldn’t you just know it but Mike develops a thing for her.
There are complications — as with all professions involving tassels, it’s all fun and games until someone loses an eye.
You might think that Magic Mike is just another movie about a stripper with a heart. But this is a Steven Soderbergh film. So it is a film about a stripper with a heart that drags on in the same way that every film he has made since Traffic outstays its welcome.
Although entertaining, Magic Mike does suffer because you never really buy into the complications that supposedly make Tatum’s character miserable.
As the film progresses, Mike becomes increasingly disillusioned with stripping — but it’s hard to see why. His only real problem is Adam’s idiocy, and he can’t even gather the wherewithal to confront that when the need arises.
That makes the conclusion of this painting-by-numbers plot all the more unfathomable. But who are we kidding here though? The story matters little when a film is being marketed as a strip show night out at the Chippendales for ladies too embarrassed to see the real thing.
And to be fair to Soderbergh, the target market will very definitely not be disappointed on that score.
Read Gareth’s reviews of Detachment and Four Horses in Downtown, free with Thursday’s Cork Evening Echo