It’s all been done before
Magic Mike Starring Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn. Written by Reid Carolin, directed by Steven Soderberg. 110 minutes, R-16 (offensive language, drug use, sexual themes). Showing at Reading Cinemas Porirua. Reviewed by KYLIE KLEIN NIXON If the gurning, smug, face of Channing Tatum on the posters wasn’t enough to put you off seeing male stripper tale Magic Mike, then the hashed over premise probably will.
When Mike (Tatum), Tampa’s
‘‘King of Cock’’ meet’s 19-year-old Adam ‘‘ The Kid’’ (Alex Pettyfer) he takes him under his beefy wing to ‘‘school him in the fine arts of partying, picking up women, and making easy money’’.
But The Kid’s headfirst dive into the seedy, self-indulgent world leaves Mike with questions about his own life path.
Yes, Magic Mike really is little more than a modern morality play in the vein of Boogie Nights or The Ice House, where those who indulge in excess and pleasure are on a hiding to nothing, while communion with the studious and quiet – in the form of Adam’s beautiful but reserved sister (Cody Horn) – is seen as a chance for redemption.
Although gorgeously shot, with perfect pacing and excellent performances from Tatum and Pettyfer, Magic Mike is possibly the most unoriginal take on this tale that’s been presented for a while.
How many times do we need to be told that taking and dealing drugs is dangerous and draining on friends and family? Who doesn’t get that the massively arrogant nightclub owner (player with deranged, bongo playing, self-parodying majesty by Matthew McConaughey) is going to fleece the loyal hard working hero in the end?
What is new, and I suppose by Hollywood standards daring, is the amount of man flesh on show.
There are oiled abs, pecs, butts and padded packages in every other shot. When in doubt, director Steven Soderburgh seems to retreat to this by default – the story flounders and suddenly, there’s Tatum flaunting his all to a techno-beat.
It’s not enough to distract from the trite moralising though.
If you can get past the ludicrousness of some of the dancing – pelvic thrusting being the ultimate move to end all moves – Tatum’s physicality is pretty impressive.
But we’re not encouraged to find it erotic or pleasurable to observe – that way evil lies, and Soderbergh’s moral compass spins too true to let us forget it.
Beefcake bonanza: Channing Tatum struts his stuff in banal male stripper flick Magic Mike.