“Magic Mike” is raunchy and aptly R-rated

“It’s sexy, funny and crazy, and offers a view into an interesting, exclusive environment most people never experience.” claims director Steven Soderbergh about his latest movie, which is set in the world of male strippers. Starring Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez, it follows Tatum’s character Mike, a man of many talents and loads of charm who spends his days pursuing the American Dream and his nights strutting his stuff at an all-male strip club in Florida. For Tatum, a former stripper and producer on the film, the idea of making a movie set in the world of male strippers had been simmering for a long time. “I’d worked as a stripper for eight months when I was 18 and 19 years old,” shares the actor. “I’ve always thought about doing a story about that life because whenever the subject comes up, guys always want to know about it.”

(L-r) Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash and Matt Bomer. Photo by Claudette Barius

The hot headliner in an all-male troupe, Magic Mike (Tatum) has been rocking the stage at Club Xquisite for years and has amassed quite a fan base, much to the delight of club owner and fellow stripper Dallas (McConaughey). Stripping, for Mike, offers a way of making a good living, meeting women and hanging with the cool guys. Seeing potential in a guy he calls the Kid (Pettyfer), a likable but not too bright teenager, Mike takes the 19-year-old under his wing and teaches him the art of dancing, partying, picking up women and making easy money. It’s not long before Mike falls for the Kid’s sister, Brooke (Horn) and before long has to choose between his career and a relationship.

Channing Tatum as Mike. Photo by Claudette Barius
Feisty and funky “Magic Mike” isn’t for the faint hearted. There isn’t much of a story line in the movie, but what it lacks in plot it makes up with atmosphere and energy, for there are several tantalizing dances by the group of male strippers in addition to a few sexy solo numbers. Entertaining and more than a little revealing, the movie seems to be an exercise in showing off Tatum’s physical attributes and a few other people’s assets including McConaughey who prances around onstage in a pair of brightly colored tongs. “Strippers are some of the corniest guys you’ll ever meet,” shares Tatum.  “And I respect these guys for jumping into their tongs with both feet and onto the stage. I have done it before but it was still nerve-racking for me.”

Matt Bomer, Channing Tatum, Adam Rodriguez, and Joe Manganiello. Photo by Claudette Barius

“All the guys were great and each one brought something specific,” adds Soderbergh “We wanted actors who could improv and be funny, not necessarily guys who could dance. As it turned out, aside from Tatum, none of the new recruits had that kind of dance experience but were all natural athletes who could draw on either stunt training or musical theater backgrounds.”

A tale of pleasure, and excess, curiosity will undoubtedly pull in a fair number of movie-goers, especially on the first weekend for this film, but aside from decent eye candy, “Magic Mike” doesn’t conjure up much magic, and merely touches on the seedy world of male strippers in a raunchy way.

Samantha Ofole-Prince is a journalist and movie critic who covers industry-specific news that includes television and film. She serves as the Entertainment Editor for Trendy Africa.

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