10 July 2012 | dglink
More Magic, Mike, More Magic
Steven Soderbergh's "Magic Mike" is short on needed magic. The promised backstage tale of male strippers conjures images of sexy men, pulsating music, and erotic choreography. Unfortunately, the expected companion piece to "Flashdance" or "Footloose" is not even "The Full Monty." Magic Mike, competently played by Channing Tatum, is a construction worker by day, a stripper by night, and a furniture designer by ambition. A fellow hard hat on the construction site, Adam, played by Alex Pettyfer, is drawn into Mike's stripper world by the lure of easy money and even easier sex. Little unexpected happens, and the audience for naked male flesh and sexual couplings is better served at the local porn shop.
The dialog is lame and often delivered listlessly. Perhaps strippers and their friends are low-key characters and talk like Mike and his friends, but eyes glaze and brains go numb after nearly two hours spent in their company. A physically fit Matthew McConaughey looks almost cadaverous as Dallas, the strippers' tough manager. However, McConaughey is effective, and his scenes resuscitate the film when he is on screen, which is all too briefly. Despite his age, McConaughey has the vulgar moves, the erotic gyrations, and the sexual aura that the other supposed strippers lack.
"Magic Mike" drags on and seems longer than it is. Soderbergh inserts a few arty shots, but generally fails to even capture the excitement of a "Flashdance," a glossy construction-worker-cum-dancer feature-length music video that moved to a beat and never bored. The music herein is forgettable at best, and the dancing owes more to Las Vegas posturing than Broadway or discotheques. Perhaps Soderbergh was the wrong director for the project, which was an odd choice for the man who made "Traffic" and "Erin Brockovich." Magic Mike's story is unexpectedly downbeat, and the angst of a frustrated furniture designer is low on entertainment value. While the film will likely draw and disappoint gay and female audiences, perhaps men can relate most to Mike and his checkered career in pursuit of a dream However, few straight men will venture into a movie with the advertising and subject matter of "Magic Mike."