Seeing a woman as an erotic dancer in cinema isn’t new. It’s been going on for decades. Therefore, when a film like Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike comes along, it grabs your attention. Despite the extravagant amount of man-flesh slathered onscreen, Magic Mike has a surprising amount of darkness and heart tucked beneath its well-sculpted chests.

The Players:

  • Director: Steven Soderbergh
  • Writers: Reil Carolin
  • Cast: Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias
  • Music: Jack Rayner
  • Cinematography: Steven Soderbergh

The Plot:

“Magic Mike” (Tatum) has it all. He’s got his future set, saving up money for a possible furniture business, while soaking up attention from countless women as a male stripper. When he comes across Adam (Pettyfer), a young man trying to make a decent buck in a new town, Mike leads him into his dark yet glamorous world.

The Good:

  • The Story: It’s simple, structurally sound and grabs our attention. Of course, we’re referring to the second-to-third act shift from a lighthearted comedy to the darker and lowest points of Mike’s story. The movie hits a dramatic sector with the flip of a switch, which works because at that point the main characters are established, and well-liked by the audience. When it dips into the deeper part of the pool you’re still hooked until the end.
  • The Performances: First off no, we’re not referring to the “performances” that happen on stage at the strip club Xquisite. We’re talking about how the actors were throughout the film. We’ll start with Tatum, whose acting style fits together seamlessly with Soderbergh’s direction. And what makes him even better is the supporting cast around him, especially his natural chemistry with Cody Horn’s character. Even though Pettyfer didn’t turn any heads in I Am Number Four, his boyish and arrogant charm works as Adam. And last but not least, McConaughey is in top form as Dallas, the ringleader of this strip show.
  • Soderbergh’s Direction: Between Haywire and Contagion, Soderbegh has caught our attention when it pertains to drama. But when he mixes it with organic comedy, it makes for good entertainment. Magic Mike isn’t the greatest film out of his repertoire, but it stands out. And not because of the men running around in little to no clothing.

The So-So:

  • The Color Tone: Don’t get us wrong, we thought the coloration worked perfectly with Haywire, but with Magic Mike? Not so much. It’s too distracting and makes a couple of the characters look sickly when painted with a yellowish hue. We understand Soderbergh prefers to use it to convey what’s going on, but it’s a little too strong this time around.

The Bad:

  • Olivia Munn/Cody Horn: It’s disappointing to see the prominent female actors in the cast deliver lukewarm performances. There are certain points where, in the midst of a close-up, you’re wondering whether or not they’re bored out of their minds. Why? Because it definitely looks that way. When actors appear disinterested while giving a full-out performance, you have a problem.

Overall:

Magic Mike flawlessly combines drama and comedy in one of Steven Soderbergh’s most entertaining and heartfelt movies from the past few years.

The Rating: 8/10

Magic Mike is out in theaters June 29.

 Photo Gallery:

Trailer:

Will you be seeing Magic Mike this weekend?