Freelance writer. Melbourne based cinephile. Fond of food.
A previous life as a male stripper is something most guys would probably want to keep to themselves, especially if you've made it big as a Hollywood star. So kudos to Channing Tatum for actually turning his experience into a film.
This could've been something quite tacky, but in the skilled hands of Steven Soderbergh, its actually a very humanistic drama. It may not be a bravura piece of filmmaking that elevates male exotic dancing to operatic proportions the way that Boogie Nights did for the adult entertainment industry, but it's a well made piece of entertainment.
Although this is a semi-autobiographical story of how Tatum entered the world of male strippers, with his younger self being played by Alex Pettyfer, the story is more about "Magic Mike", the man who exposed him to this world. Tatum actually plays Mike, a mentor of sorts to the younger character and the moral compass of the narrative. His opposite on the moral scale is played by the wardrobe challenged Matthew McConnaghey, who no doubt relished the chance to take his shirt off in the name of acting once again.
The film has its fair share of humour, and the characters bounce off each other nicely, especially Mike and his potential love interest, engagingly played by Cody Horn. The dialogue is smart and snappy, although it can be hard to focus on with so many fit, naked torsos populating the screen.
This is one of Soderbergh's lighter efforts and fortunately there's no sermonising about the lifestyles these people lead and there's no pat resolution at film's end. In fact, a sequel is in the pipeline already. Perhaps Tatum's original choice of director, Nicolas Winding Refn (Drive) will be on board for something a little more dark and stylistic.