Soderbergh’s drama explores the world of male strippersBy Noelani Torre
Philippine Daily Inquirer
Channing Tatum himself said it best—“Women go to male strip clubs to watch their friends’ faces turn red and to have a night of camaraderie with their girlfriends.” This seems to apply to women who go to watch a movie about male strippers, as well, judging by the delighted shrieks of female viewers at a recent screening of “Magic Mike.”
Helmed by the versatile Steven Soderbergh, the film stars Tatum as the titular character and the film was partly inspired by the actor’s previous experience as an exotic dancer in Florida. Tatum once stripped for a living when he was 18, and he clearly hasn’t forgotten how to work a crowd.
Tatum, Soderbergh and company know their audience well—so, yes, ladies (and gents), you are going to be seeing plenty of oiled, waxed and thonged male pulchritude onscreen. And not just courtesy of Tatum—the cast includes Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez and professional wrestler, Kevin Nash. In short, you probably don’t want to wait for this to come out on DVD. This much eye-candy deserves to be enjoyed on the big screen.
“Magic Mike” is about much more than just a bunch of physically attractive people dancing around and taking their clothes off, however. Fun, often hilarious, sometimes serious, the movie is a refreshingly clear-eyed look into the world of male stripping.
Magic Mike, played with just the right balance of charm and sincerity by Tatum, is into construction, events management, and auto detailing in the daytime, but the job that really gets him serious dough is the one at the Xquisite Dance Revue, which is owned by Dallas (a spot-on McConaughey). He meets aimless 19-year-old Adam (Pettyfer) at a construction gig, takes him under his wing, and introduces him—and us—to the career of an exotic dancer and its accompanying lifestyle.
Everyone seems to be having a great deal of fun, whether on or off the stage. For Mike, however, who dreams about making custom furniture, it’s all getting a bit old. Plus, he seems to be falling for Adam’s no-nonsense sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who doesn’t think that stripping is a sustainable career.
All told, this is not a terribly original plot, but it doesn’t matter. It is in how the story gets fleshed out that you’ll derive the most enjoyment—and we’re not just talking about the actual flesh that you’ll be seeing, either.
“Magic Mike” is an exploration of what it means when someone is basically seen as something to be looked at (a male someone, for once) and also about what goes on when the costumes come off, the street clothes come on—and the crumpled dollar bills have to be flattened out, so they’ll look more legit!
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