Alright, alllllriiight, alllllriiiiight…I’ll attempt to refrain from writing this entire review in McConaughey quotes, which will be difficult. The first thing to say about this film is that it’s not what the trailers, TV spots and the sides of buses have told you. Yes, there are, indeed, numerous scenes featuring male strippers and their well-oiled bodies, flexing, glistening muscles, but there’s also a pervasive male sexuality in the undercurrent. And the current? What’s not obvious, from the promotional material, is how funny or dramatic certain parts of this film are. The drama isn’t hugely original, but is well written and executed, by all involved.

Mike, contemplating his abs or furniture or something.

The story follows Mike (Channing Tatum) introducing a young college drop-out, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) to the world of all-male revue, or stripping to you and me. The allure of ‘women, money and a good time’ leads the young man into uncertain waters. Meanwhile, Mike is attempting to branch out and takes an interest in Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn). The story is relatively simple, but sufficiently compelling and earnest to raise the film above what it might have been in the hands of a director other than Soderbergh.

Soderbergh is an interesting director, leaping from genre to genre, often with surprising success. From the stark brutality of films like Contagion and Traffic, to the slick (and smug) Ocean’s Eleven, he seems to enjoy taking on a variety of sub-genres.  Often, he succeeds creating interesting works, avoiding the potential pitfalls of films so firmly based within a genre.  Certain connecting threads can be observed between various films;  the naturalistic dialogue of Magic Mike is reminiscent of the brutal and excellent Contagion.  Additionally, the visuals in Contagion, Traffic and Magic Mike all share subtle but effective visual styles, such as bleaching or yellowing of the colour palette.

‘Dallas’ teaching the newcomer, Adam, some of the fundamentals of stripping.

C-Tates gets kudos for being a better actor than Step Up and G.I. Joe might have suggested, but the secret weapon of this piece is the well-oiled, venomous snake-man, McConaughey, as club owner Dallas. Every scene featuring McConaughey competes for your attention. You believe in his character, even while he gnaws the scenery and throws piles of ham across the screen. He gets the best lines, as well as a bongo drum, guitar and an impressive amount of leather.

So, ignore the marketing and go and see this because it’s damn good. Alternatively, pay attention to the marketing, and you’ll still have a satisfying amount of well oiled men, and their abs, with some additional drama.

Grade: B-


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