Release date: June 29, 2012 Director: Steven Soderbergh
Based loosely on events in Channing Tatum’s past, Magic Mike follows the story of Michael Lane (Channing Tatum), a creative entrepreneur with a passion for various forms of masculine art, who shines onstage as the King of Dance while also mentoring a reluctant teenager named Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and dreaming of a life beyond the glamour and one dollar bills of his night job.
While on the surface, Mike appears to be nothing but over-sweetened eye candy meant to drive women insane with his perfectly chiseled physique and concupiscent dance style, the qualities that he shows outside of the limelight create within him a redeemable character. His passion for creating art in furniture and cars, as well as his genuine desire to protect Adam from the more malevolent side of their exotic lifestyle, give his character depth and allow the audience to connect with him on a deeper level that is more than mere sensual attraction. His desire to have a genuine relationship with Adam’s sister, Brooke, (Cody Horn) and his aspirations to become something deeper than a just pretty face, gives the audience something more tangible to watch than just a pretty guy who plays with women’s hearts.
Adam’s character is the opposite of Mike. While Mike seems to genuinely desire something greater than the so-called “magic” of their lascivious lifestyle, Adam does not. While initially being reluctant to succumb to the erotic night activities of his new comrades, Adam becomes ensnared in the darker elements of stardom, and his lack of experience only causes trouble for him and thwarts Mike’s dreams.
So, the question remains. Is Magic Mike merely a clichéd flick about the seedy world of male stripping, or is there a genuine purpose to this story? Initially, the answer would appear to be the former. It’s all about man’s desire to drive women crazy with their perfect bodies with the movie possessing the nutritional value of cotton candy. But if you can endure the shocking imagery and eroticism until the third act, you will find the deeper moral to this story; that while the nightlife may be fun for a time, there are better things to strive for, and if you allow yourself to be caught up in the dark glamour of stardom, you will be consumed by it.
I have never been particularly drawn to this type of film, and when I sat down to watch it, I was unsure of what I was in for. While the shocking imagery and rougher story arcs challenged my resolve to treat this movie with an objective attitude, I found myself genuinely surprised that I actually liked this film. Magic Mike is definitely not a movie for the prudish, but if you enjoy Channing Tatum and dancing, you might find this an interesting flick.