Sunday, March 24, 2013

Movie Review: Magic Mike (2012)

Magic Mike movie poster
Magic Mike (2012) - Directed by Steven Soderbergh; Written by Reid Carolin; Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaghy, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn.

By Kenny Howell

Steven Soderbergh has seemed like he has been trying to prove something the last several years.

After breaking onto the scene many years ago with Sex, Lies & Videotape, he did a fantastic job with Out of Sight, he was nominated for Erin Brockovich, and eventually won an Oscar for directing Traffic. From that point on has peppered films that you wouldn't expect from an Oscar winning director. He did a big budget heist movie with an all-star cast in the Ocean's series, the first movie to be offered both at the theater and at home on the same day, Bubble. A movie with a hardcore porn star as the lead in The Girlfriend Experience. A female driven action movie with a MMA fighter as the lead in Haywire. And now a movie about a bunch of male strippers.

I think what he is trying to prove is that he can take any subject or star, no matter what the subject, or what the experience, and churn out a good story. I think he likes those boxes he puts himself in, because it brings something out in him creatively. Movies don't have to be high literary material to be good. They just need to be well done.

Magic Mike is no exception. While on the surface, this movie drove females to the theaters for a chance to see Channing Tatum (Side Effects) and Matthew McConaghy (Mud) do strip routines, it is really about the struggle to achieve the American dream, or at least being in control of your own destiny.

That is the aim of Mike (Tatum), who has a handful of businesses in the works, and he keeps their possibility alive by roofing during the day, and dancing at a strip club owned by the crazy Dallas (McConaghy) at night. He takes in a bit of a drifter in Adam, and sets him up with a job at the strip club. From there, his business aspirations take hit after hit dealing with the wayward Adam, and the slightly manic Dallas. Plus, his inability to secure a loan for his custom made furniture due to bad credit keeps him from getting away from the club. All the while, he is falling in love with Adam's sister, played by Cody Horn.

Like many of Soderbergh's recent films, there is nothing amazing about this movie. It is just solidly done. The story is well told, Tatum is charming and likable and McConaghy kills it, much like he did in another great movie from the same year, Killer Joe. Probably should have got nominated for either of those roles, but luckily he won a year later for Dallas Buyer's Club

Rating: ***

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