“Magic Mike” really is movie magic

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By Adam Sandel

You’ve heard the buzz and you’ve seen the ads. You know you want to see the male stripper epic “Magic Mike.” Admit it.

The good news is that the R rated film starring Channing Tatum boasts more male nudity than anything to come from mainstream Hollywood. The better news is that in the hands of director Steven Soderbergh, “Magic Mike” offers much more than bare-assed beefcake.

What first appears to be a randy comedy about male strippers is actually a finely crafted, evocative tale of the struggles of middle-class Joes with limited options to achieve the American Dream.

Tatum, whose real-life experiences as a stripper inspired the film, plays a suave dude who dabbles in construction, auto detailing, and stripping – to achieve his dream of making custom furniture, and owning a piece of the club where he’s cock of the walk.

He takes a broke teenager, played by Alex Pettyfer, under his wing and before you know it, “The Kid” is making his unexpected debut as a stripper.

The buff troupe also includes the recently out, gay and gorgeous Matt Bomer (of TV’s “Burn Notice”) and “True Blood’s” muscle-bound Joe Manganiello – who was Bomer’s real-life college roommate (I’m just sayin’).

Matthew McConaughey gives his best performance yet as the club’s owner and host: a low-rent showman who knows his business – and how to play his female audience like a symphony of squealing violins.

Cody Horn gives a low-key, star-making performance as the young boy’s protective, morally centered big sister. She’s the perfect foil for Tatum’s cocky confidence, and many of their scenes feel as though they’re not scripted but improvised.

The stripper routines are hilariously cheesy, but in his solo numbers, Tatum proves that he can really, really dance. Despite all of its comedic sexy flash, “Magic Mike” has a lot to say about the power and limitations of male friendship, and the seductive dangers of easy money. 

For more on “Magic Mike” and to view the trailer, visit the movie’s website here.

About The Author

Adam Sandel is a playwright, screenwriter, lyricist, journalist and film critic living in San Francisco, California. He's the film writer for dot429 Magazine and is the host of the internet radio show "Happy Hour" on energytalkradio.com. adamsandel@yahoo.com adam@dot429.com

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