Movie Review: Magic Mike Is Worth the Dollar Bills

Stripper flick starring Channing Tatum serves up plenty of eye candy

By Peter Paras Jun 29, 2012 4:00 AMTags
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Review in a Hurry: Channing Tatum bares all as a male stripper with a heart that's almost as big as what's hidden in those tear-away pants. Director Steven Soderbergh's high energy abs and buns flick is packed with sexy: that hot con artist from White Collar (Matt Bomer), that hotter werewolf from True Blood (Joe Manganiello) and the most chiseled, Matthew McConaughey. All shakin' their bon bons.

Unlike Showgirls, the men are in on the joke, making all the Village People-inspired numbers hella fun.

The Bigger Picture: Opening with the old Warner Bros. logo to channel the spirit of the '70s—the height of skin flicks and clubs—Tampa's Club Xquisite is about to get wild. MC'd by Dallas (McConaughey) the owner of an all-male revue, he informs the ladies in attendance that there are rules to what you can and can't touch...but he sees plenty of rule breakers.

The headliner, Mike (Tatum) has just recruited Adam (Alex Pettyfer) whose stage name will be "The Kid." As The Kid gets seduced by money, women and chaps there's a chance this fun consequence-free lifestyle of a male stripper will not stay consequence-free.

But before all that drama begins...

Soderbergh shot the film himself and like his previous efforts (Contagion, Haywire) the digital look is stunning. The warm hues of the Tampa sun and the stark highly detailed cool nights are nearly the best eye candy. Hint: the strippers are the real eye candy.

For the first hour, the spell of these ridiculously costumed studs is hard to shake. Is Tatum gyrating to dubstep? Of course. It's raining men and as the women latch onto these flab-free gods and shower them with cash, you don't want the downpour to end.

Although he's been a hit lately with The Vow and 21 Jump Street, Tatum has never been better. He's the best dancer of the bunch and his aw shucks appeal is well used. McConaughey too is excellent. Always charming, always slick, this is his best performance since Dazed and Confused.

Fans of Bomer and Manganiello might be disappointed that they barely have any dialogue. They make up for it with those dance routines. Olivia Munn shows up (topless!) and Cody Horn is the attractive good girl that worries about her bro, The Kid.

READ: Magic Mike: Early Reviews Are In—Precious Booty or Just a Whole Lotta Junk?

However, the good times must end and here's where all those who came just for the guilty pleasure might be let down. Soderbergh is within reach of making Magic Mike just as compelling as another silly-titled dance drama, Saturday Night Fever. After the dizzying highs of the first half though, that hangover can really sting.

The 180—a Second Opinion: Like we said, audiences who flock to see these hunks strip and have a good time might be uncomfortable with the last act's much more dramatic tone. We think it works, but we understand if you didn't pay to see a stripper talk about his feelings.

PHOTOS: Flick Pics—Magic Mike