Yes, ladies and curious gentlemen, the epilated and buffed male dancers of Xquisite nightclub are here to satisfy your every need, as long as your every need is to watch and whoop at various military and patriotic themed dances , sometimes performed in nothing more than a tiny, glistening thong. There is quite an unslaked thirst out there [amongst men and women] for the onscreen exhibition of the male form, ‘blame’ for which can be placed firmly at the Fassbender doorstep. He knows what he’s started.
The eponymous stripper, ol’ Magic Mike (Channing Tatum), does much more than just take off his clobber. He wants us to know this right off the bat, so we follow him round various jobs and bank visits, winding his entrepreneurial way around town until he finds a stray teenager, the Kid (Alex Pettyfer), to take under his oiled-up wing.
The Kid quickly settles down into the rituals and preening of the stripping world, under the tutelage of Mike and his ruthless strutting peacock of a boss, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). All this doesn’t sit very well with the Kid’s extremely straight-laced sister Brooke (Cody Horn), who happens to like Mike but doesn’t want her darling little bro led down the path marked certain destruction. From there the narrative dwindles down to virtually nothing.
Channing Tatum is a great dancer and whenever he’s on stage the whole film lights up. His acting scenes are not as successful. McConaughey seems to have found his stride lately, playing the grimy predator instead of the usual reluctant boyfriend roles we’ve got sick of over the years. His character is delightfully disgusting, and apart from one unfortunate bare buttocked incident, his scenes were the consistently good parts of the film. The Kid (Adam) and his sister Brooke seem like bit players, their characters under-developed and unengaging.
For a film set in such a red-blooded world, Magic Mike (directed by Steven Soderberg) is curiously bloodless at times. The ending is abrupt and adds to the feeling of there being something vital missing, a fitting end for a slightly irritating but fun film.