MIKE (director: Steven Soderbergh;
Carolin; cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh; editor:
Faulk; cast: Channing Tatum (Magic Mike), Alex Pettyfer (Adam),
James Marin Kelly (Sal), Matthew McConaughey (Dallas), Olivia
Cody Horn (Brooke), Matt Bomer (Ken), Kevin Nash (Tarzan), Joe Manganiello (Big Dick
Richie), Adam Rodriguez (Tito), Reid Carolin (Paul),
(Tobias), Betsy Brandt (Female Banker); Runtime:
110; MPAA Rating: R; producers: Reid Carolin/Gregory
Jacobs/Channing Tatum/Nick Wechsler; Warner
"Tatum nails his role."
Reviewed by Dennis Schwartz
film was inspired by Channing Tatum's short stint as
an 18-year-old male stripper in Florida before making
it in Hollywood. With
plenty of verve Steven Soderbergh
("Traffic"/"Oceans 11"/"Contagion") directs this appealing
slice of Americana wannabe experimental comedy-drama,
that looks different than a mainstream film probably
because it's so buoyantly shot. Reid Carolin cleverly
writes it as a good time cautionary moralistic tale
about the dangers of drugs and uninhibited sex and
taking the wrong path in life by not following one's
dreams, while going easy on the message and heavy on
the male strippers as eye candy.
The drama is set at the
Xquisite male strip club in Tampa, Florida, where the
hunky 30-year-old Mike (Channing Tatum) is
the athletic fast-moving week-end feature dancer at
the dance review run by the funky bare-chested and
black leather pants wearing beefcake MC
named Dallas (Matthew
McConaughey). Mike aspires to save up enough
to open his own custom furniture business, but is
delayed in going after his dream because Dallas keeps him
dangling by telling him he plans soon to open a bigger
and more prosperous club in Miami in which he’s
promised Mike a financial stake. At Mike's
construction day job he meets the 19-year-old punky
college drop-out Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and soon ends up mentoring the
troubled self-destructive kid to be a stripper.
Though living on the fast
lane, like his fellow bare-assed stripper chorus boys
Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan
(Kevin Nash), and Ken (Matt Bomer), Mike falls for
Adam's stable perky older sister medical record keeper
Brooke (Cody Horn) and tries hard to get her
to see that when not on stage he's not the Magic Mike
persona but just good ole Mike--someone ready to
settle down with the right girl.
The stripper dance routines
are handsomely choreographed like zippy Village People
routines by Alison Faulk.
The plot is not much and all too familiar, of the nice guy finally wising up and getting the good girl in the third act by showing maturity and switching from an exploitation career to one he can be more serious about. It helps greatly that the breezy naturalistic acting by the likeable Tatum and Horn is so refreshing, that McConaughey's performance is so superbly accomplished in a fun way and that it gives the viewer an idea of how the male stripper club business functions, and that all the main characters have some depth and pass for real people. Tatum nails his role as the good-natured dude who finally realizes quick money and easy sex are not enough--one needs to take pride in doing something that matters to them and not just be some hedonistic sex object for a bunch of screaming ladies living only for flesh and money.
REVIEWED ON 7/1/2012 GRADE: A-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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