COMIC DRAMA; 1hr 50min
STARRING: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn
Working the room: Tatum (front)
Meet Mike (Tatum), Tampa roof tiler and aspiring custom-furniture maker by day, Magic Mike the all-male revue performer by night. Getting up close and personal with a roomful of squealing women is a damned good living — not to mention the fringe benefits — and for Mike’s 19-year-old protégé Adam (Pettyfer), it’s also a bail-out from broke and desperate. As the level voice of reason, Adam’s sister, Brooke (real-girl Horn) is unimpressed but Mike is a self-styled entrepreneur and to him, raunching out is just another hat.
With McConaughey as their foxy MC, Dallas, the “cock rockers” routines are prime-grade beefcake. Offstage, director Steven Soderbergh takes things down a bunch of notches to underplayed and reflective, as the realisation dawns on Mike — and on us — that this is one party we don’t want to linger at. Tatum, who famously has worked as a stripper, is all over both the bump-and-grind and the lonely hollowness of a self-exploiting existence. At 30, Mike’s options are diminishing and what looked liberation going in is a sad entrapment down the beaten track.