Mike (Channing Tatum) takes Adam (Alex Pettyfer) under his wing and teaches him the profession of male stripping, but it is not long before Adam, now known as The Kid, begins to cause trouble for his mentor.
It is not quite clear what has happened to director Steven Soderberg. His last two movies – Contagion and Haywire – were entertaining enough, but there was little sign of the flair that made Soderberg a director worth watching. The same goes for Magic Mike.
Channing Tatum is quite endearing throughout the movie, and when he actually does dance, it is clear why he has become the big name at the strip club. Tatum is as adequate as he usually is, and goes no way to stretching himself at all. This could be the limitations of the actors, but blame could also lie at the feet of the writer and the director. Alex Pettyfer’s Adam starts off as sulky and immature, and this is only exacerbated by the fame and glory that he finds. It is true that The Kid’s first and unplanned dance is rather sweet – especially since it is done to the tune of Madonna’s Like A Virgin – but the character soon disappears into a cloud of arrogance that he does not emerge from. Cody Horn is another character that feels one dimensional; all she does is complain about Adam’s antics and lays the blame anywhere but at her own door.
Thank god then, for Matthew McConaughey. While it is true that his character is not given much room to grow, he is easily the most entertaining facet of the movie. Yes, he gets his shirt off within the opening minute – and keeps it off – but his arrogance is rather amusing, and it is easy to see why the character is as successful as he is.
Screenwriter Reid Carolin has managed to take a story that we have seen before, take out any redemption for the characters, throw in male strippers and create an uneven and boring film. The characters are one-dimensional, unrelatable and predictable and, other than McConaughey’s preening and peacocking, the dancing is the only remotely entertaining facet of the film. Director Steven Soderberg is known for making tightly paced, interesting films – this can even be said for the work he did with Haywire and Contagion – but Magic Mike feels like it is dragging its heels through most of the two hour running time, and there are only so many strip teases the audience can watch before they hanker for a story.
In all, Magic Mike is entertaining in parts and contains another great performance from Matthew McConaughey but is has none of the trademark sparkle that we have come to expect from Soderberg, and this, coupled with flat characters and a predictable story, leave the film bloated and boring.