It’s all been done be­fore

Kapi-Mana News - - ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT -

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.

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