I did not go into “Magic Mike” expecting to see much of anything except hot guys stripping to rock music. What I got was all that, but also a sweet and touching story about a guy trying to find his place in the world. I should have known that director Steven Soderbergh wouldn’t phone it in.
The story follows a male stripper named Mike (Channing Tatum) who spends his days working non-union jobs as a roofer and building custom furniture. Custom furniture is his passion, but he’s kind of meandering through life.
At night, however, he becomes something altogether different — a male stripper with the Xquisite Male Dance Revue in Tampa, Florida. It’s a grimy strip club for women, but he’s really good at it. Of course, things get pretty hot as he hits the stage in a variety of costumes — soldier, cop, etc.
When Mike trolls for customers in a nearby dance club, he runs into Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a 19-year-old guy he met on a roofing job, and recruits ”the Kid” to be a stripper. While there’s a B-story about this stripper virgin, “Magic Mike” is really all about Mike, played winningly — and sensitively — by Tatum. On stage he may be a gyrating sex god, but off-stage, he harbors doubts and fears not unlike John Travolta in “Saturday Night Fever.” You really want to see him figure things out.
“Magic Mike” is as much a character study as a fun romp populated with lots of hot studs — not only Tatum, but also “True Blood’s” Joe Manganiello, “White Collar’s” Matt Bomer, and Matthew McConaughey, who turns in a winning performance as the shady and beguiling owner of the club.
I can’t really see “Magic Mike” as a date movie (unless you’re into those awkward dates), but it’s a great movie for a bunch of girlfriends to see together.
Blu-ray bonus features are a little thin, but include deleted dance scenes and a couple of featurettes — “Backstage on Magic Mike” and “The Moves of Magic Mike.”
Buy “Magic Mike” on Amazon.
“Magic Mike” is rated R for pervasive sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and some drug use. Released in theaters June 29, 2012; on DVD/blu-ray Oct. 23, 2012.