In the cheeky (so to speak) beginning of Magic Mike, the film delivers exactly what the audience wants: a shot of beefy star Channing Tatum getting up out of bed and walking away from the camera buck naked. Giggling that had started during Matthew McConaughey’s rousing intro as a male strip-club emcee now erupted into full-on squeals and laughter that rippled across the theater. A movie about the world of male strippers? What’s not to like?
Magic Mike (which is also the stage name of Mike, played by Tatum) begins with the same fun, wide-eyed promise as stripper-virgin Adam (Alex Pettyfer). Adam is pulled off the street by Mike, dubbed “The Kid,” and is literally thrown on stage in a panic when the club is one man short. The Kid is sexy and scruffy, only 19, and immediately wins the ladies over with his stripping awkwardness. With a bit of bumping, grinding, and crotch-crabbing tutorial by Dallas (McConaughey), The Kid becomes a natural… or as natural as a man can be with tear-away pants.
At this point, Magic Mike is still fun. But Steven Soderbergh (being the serious director that he is), must inject some drama into the story, and that is where it falters. Adam has an older sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who is not too impressed with her brother’s new occupation. She is also suspicious of his new BFF Mike, who (since he is around 30, and supposedly mature) says he’ll watch out for The Kid. Throw in an attempt at romantic tension between Mike and Brooke, and you have at a kind of weird time after time rebuff of a stripper’s attentions until… voila! Sorry, don’t want to give it away, but if a guy introduced your kid brother into a world of stripping, drugs, and scary drug dealers, would you suddenly change your mind about him? (Maybe if he was Channing Tatum.)
Magic Mike is half of a fun movie. The moments with the men on stage, or crashing a sorority party dressed as cops (with removable pants), are truly the best. There is indeed lots of man-candy to appreciate, even if the supporting characters are never developed. Special props go to True Blood‘s Joe Manganiello who gets some of the biggest laughs (and wide-open mouths of disbelief) with his impressive, er, assets. (His character IS called Big Dick Richie, after all!)
But other than these moments, Magic Mike is kind of sluggish, trying to instill some deep-thought drama (and non-romance) into what turns out to be a typical script despite the fresh man-meat content. A young, impressionable man gets a taste of sex, drugs, and money, falls into a downward spiral, and has to learn his lessons the hard way. Bo-ring. But feel free to show us the male strippers again!
On the Blu-ray, you can watch the film in Dance Play Mode, which just jumps from dance scene to dance scene from the film (because, really, that is all you want to watch, right?). There are also three extended dance scenes totaling about 9 minutes, which leaves you wanting more. Finally, the “Backstage on Magic Mike” is a short featurette with cast interviews and behind the scenes fun.