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Magic Mike (AF)


Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Riley Keough, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias

Director: Steven Soderbergh

The last major ‘mainstream ‘movie that celebrated male strippers was the low budget offering The Full Monty whose success transformed some of its small-part British actors into international stars.

Here Hollywood takes no such chances in mounting their gaudy take on muscular men in g-strings. Soderbergh’s brisk waste-no-time-or-film direction showcases Tatum (whose real-life experiences as a teenage male stripper inspired the project) and, notably, McConaughey, who may be third billed here but who sinuously steals the show with a standout demonstration of athletic dancing and gyrating, well-oiled muscles and an infectiously wicked understanding of just how far he can go, which is pretty far when he struts his stuff in front of a club full of women eager to be tantalized by bare flesh and states “Fact is, the law says you cannot touch” and then gleefully adds, “But I think I see a lotta lawbreakers up in this house tonight”. (A few weeks ago McConaughey was a vicious killer-for-hire cop in William Friedkin’s Killer Joe. Here, while he’s third billed, he still steals the show

Pettyfer, too, proves to be a lot more than his previous films like ‘I Am Number Four’ and ‘Alex Ryder: Stormbreaker’ might have indicated. He does a perfectly good job as the innocent 19-year-old that Tatum takes under his wing, teaching him the tricks of the trade of raising the hormonal levels of the flesh hungry women at McConaughey’s Xquiste male strip club in Tampa, Florida.

Reed Carolin’s, whose screenplay mainly concentrates on male bonding behind the scenes at the club and cues for temperature-raising strip-dance numbers, also finds time to have Tatum romancing Pettyfer’s sister Horn: and that about sums up the plot.

In essence, Magic Mike could be described as essentially a raunchier- than-usual behind-the-scenes Hollywood musical. The musical numbers, notably the ‘It’s Raining Men’ ensemble number are vigorously and enjoyably staged and more likely to remain in the memory than the dramatic storyline.

(CSI: Miami fans, incidentally, may be a tad startled to see series investigator Rodriguez wearing only a posing pouch and shaving his legs. And writhing up a stripping storm, too).

Alan Frank

USA 2012. UK Distributor: Lionsgate. Technicolor.
110 minutes. Widescreen. UK certificate: 15.

Guidance ratings (out of 3): Sex/nudity 1, Violence/Horror 0, Drugs 2, Swearing 3.

Review date: 11 Jul 2012