DIRECTOR STEVEN SODERBERGH’S LATEST FILM, MAGIC MIKE, DELVES INTO THE WORLD OF MALE STRIPPING. THE FILM FOLLOWS MIKE (CHANNING TATUM), A STRIPPER AND ASPIRING ENTREPRENEUR, AS HE TAKES ADAM (ALEX PETTYFER) UNDER HIS WING AND SHOWS HIM HOW TO DANCE, PARTY, AND MAKE EASY MONEY. SODERBERGH STRIKES A GREAT BALANCE BETWEEN SHOWING THE OFF-STAGE AND ON-STAGE LIVES OF THESE MEN.
I will admit, I was easily coerced into seeing Magic Mike with a straight female friend. Since the film’s release, I’ve been interested in seeing what it’s all about. Mostly in the hopes that it moves beyond the half naked men dry humping anything for cash and shows their lives off the stage, as well.
When I walked into the theater I expected it to be busy, but I didn’t anticipate the 10:50 show on a Tuesday night to be sold out. The crowd was all women; no ages or backgrounds seemed to be left out. From the second the movie started, I knew something was different about this movie-going experience than any other I have had.
The film’s soundtrack is littered with jeers and cheers from the women in the strip clubs. What struck me as fascinating were the ladies in the theater who were joining in. I couldn’t help but feel slightly uncomfortable when the 60-something year old woman sitting a few rows behind me shouts, “take it off!” at the screen. I felt equally uneasy when the teenage girls down the row from me chimed in too.
Now, I was expecting there to be scattered cheers during the stripping scenes, but these women were cheering every time a male character went shirtless (which, for those that haven’t seen the film, is very often). Suffice to say, most of the film had the audience all hot and bothered.
After watching it, it’s easy to understand these reactions. The cast list boasts a ton of hunky men including Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, and Joe Manganiello. So not only is the cast very good looking, but they all play very likeable characters.
Pettyfer, who plays Mike’s protégé, goes through with some reckless and selfish ideas during the film. And even though he’s not playing the nice guy, Pettyfer’s acting creates a likeable character despite his faults. I felt myself liking Tatum’s character more the longer he was on screen. It’s his personality and sincerity, not his chiseled pecs and muscular arms, that made me go slightly weak in the knees.
While I was surprised by the audience’s reaction to it, I thought Magic Mike was an interesting look at the world of male stripping. The cast took flawed characters and made them captivating and quite likable. As well, there’s enough substance, humour, and character building to keep audiences engaged and entertained. Even the ones who aren’t fans of shirtless Hollywood actors.