Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Before Channing Tatum took the vow as a movie star, he had a short career as a stripper. Out of that fun fact, director Steven Soderbergh has fashioned Magic Mike. It's not a biopic. The script by Reid Carolin simply uses a male strip club in Tampa, Florida as a backdrop to show the blood, sweat and desperation that go into making stripping pay. Tatum plays Mike, who strips to foster his dream job in furniture designing business. He and his fellow bare-assed dudes, including Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer and Kevin Nash, show the ropes to The Kid (Alex Pettyfer), a drifter who finds a home in the junk shop. The first part of the film is raunchy fun, with Matthew McConaughey stealing scenes as Dallas, the Club's den daddy. Watching the dudes work on their dance moves in front of ravaneous women exerts a real fascination, though the script never truly examines the motives of strippers or the audiences. Instead, Soderbergh dawdles over Mike's flirtation with The Kid's sister (Cody Horn). Worse, the film develops a virtuous squint that starts tsk-tsking everything that was first shown as a fleshy amusement park. It turns out that the sex, drugs and rock & roll lifestyle is really bad for these guys, especially The Kid. Magic Mike slowly degenerates into a simplistic cautionary fable. I didn't see that coming from a sharp observer like Soderbergh.