The trailer of Magic Mike may have suggested a fun flesh-feast of male strippers and shriek inducing bachelorette parties but as a friend said after the movie, when a film opens with a sepia-ish tone, you should start expecting so much more than just that. That is not saying that there is a shortage of flesh on-screen. Even with the obvious cuts in local cinemas, we still had our fill of bums and abs from Tatum, Pettyfer and the rest of the cast.
But make no mistake. This is nothing compared to local indie-skin flicks that make every excuse to have the actors stripped and show their privates. This isn't like a Star Cinema movie either that neatly ties everything up towards the end just to give the audience a happy ending (no pun intended).
The movie reels you in the way Pettyfer was reeled into the lifestyle of Mike who has been stripping for the last six years. The pitch is 'it is the easiest way to earn cash with parties and sex thrown in as a bonus.' In Eastwood, there were discreet and non-discreet shrieks of approval from the audience especially when the virginal but troubled Pettyfer took to the stage for the first time. And as Pettyfer is taken into the ride, we too, were hooked.
When you start imagining yourself getting high along with the leads, this is when the movie gets mean and slaps you with reality. It confronts you with how this lifestyle leads nowhere but uncertainty and broken dreams. It shows you how the cycle goes on and even with the flicker of hope that was implied, you know that everything's not alright. Not really.
Magic Mike is based on Channing Tatum's life as a stripper before his breakout role in the the dance movie, Step-up. This also marks his most real and most effective portrayal to date. Pettyfer is David personified but he offered more than just being an eye-candy, delivering a competent performance opposite Tatum. Providing contrast to these characters is Mike's love interest, Cody Horn, who is a little too "normal" bordering on flat. Matthew McConaughey, on the other hand, is on the role of his career. I wouldn't be surprised if he bags at least an Oscar nomination for this.
At the helm is director Steven Sodenbergh who also served as his own cinematographer for this film. With Magic Mike, he adds another quality movie to his already impressive filmography and I personally cannot wait for what he offers next.