“Let’s get f*cking started!” Yep. That’s the first thing we hear before a picture even hits the screen – It’s that kind of film. When a snappy statement like that blasts out of the speakers as a means to usher in the opening credits, you know you’re in for an interesting ride.
Set in a somewhat glamourised version of the world of male strippers Magic Mike tells of star stripper Mike (Channing Tatum) who takes under his wing a young no-hoper and schools him in the art of stripping. But apparently women, money and fame on tap isn’t enough for dear old Mike – he wants more…!
Apparently loosely based on Tatum’s real experiences as an exotic dancer prior to hitting it big Hollywood style, it’s a film Tatum was quoted as wanting to make soon after his rise to fame. It seems his name and bank balance finally affords him the luxury to do the projects he’s always wanted.
The trailer hints at a glittery, flowery, shamefully conventional rom-com. I guess this harks back to the old saying ‘don’t judge a book by it’s cover’: The trailer ain’t nothing like the real thing (not that I’m complaining).
Directed by Steven Soderbergh (Ocean’s Eleven, Erin Brockovich, Traffic), it’s evident by the opening scene (a jarring opening monologue by a ripped Matthew McConaughey that ends as suddenly as it came) this film is not going to be the girls-night-out flick you were expecting.
The cinematography is bizarre in places and could be argued to swing between utter genius and a senseless cause of distraction. The jury’s out on that one. Some of it I loved, other parts caused an audible murmur of confusion to sweep the audience.
A fisheye-like lens if often used to generally good effect. There’s also a lot of play with light (‘circles of confusion’ to get technical) which start off as intriguing but descend into something akin to a first year photography student’s attempt at being creative by the tenth time it’s used.
The editing is short and snappy, maintaining a great pace and presenting the story in the form of a series of snapshots from Mike’s life over a period of time.
The soundtrack is sweet with some great, pumping club tunes and a few interesting off-the-wall choices thrown in for good measure. The choreography is in your face but undeniably sensational with Tatum really showing off his best moves.
The cast is solid throughout. Good performances are delivered by all with a stand out by show pony McConaughey who really gets to flex his muscles in this flick (in more ways than one!)
Sadly Tatum doesn’t really flex anything expect muscles in this movie, with little to no acting required. The screenplay failed on the character development front with a very minor story arc as far as ‘Mike’ was concerned. This made for a slightly unsatisfactory ending.
Magic Mike is nice and saucy with eye candy a-plenty. Ultimately, it’s enjoyable, but slightly confusing. Though packaged like a light-hearted, cheeky comedy, the film also attempts at ‘shock value’ using graphic, sexually charged content/imagery, drug use and the odd random social comment. Though admirable, and sometimes interesting, the storyline is just too conventional to carry it off.
Magic Mike is worth a look for the beautiful bods and the semi-frequent laughs, but there’s something about this flick that doesn’t quite gel… I rate it 3 out of 5 stars.