The Proper Review
There’s more to Magic Mike than just a bunch of buff men getting naked: this is a film from Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh, after all. It’s the story of a penniless young buck, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) who’s thrown into an apparently shiny new world that offers way too many temptations for him to handle.
In the meantime his more seasoned mentor, Mike (Channing Tatum) starts to wonder if there’s more to life than stripping off his kecks in front of gaggles of drunk, randy women. It’s Boogie Nights with strippers, an American Fully Monty... but it only touches on the darker issues tackled in those films. Magic Mike is as much about fun and spectacle as it is about those important life choices.
The performance scenes are hugely entertaining: the guys go through dozens of costumes and routines while trying to part hordes of screaming girls from their hard-earned cash.
While all the boys are buff, Tatum (who was a stripper before he came to acting) has the best moves and duly takes centre stage as the titular Magic Mike. A romance with his friend’s sister is sweet but less involving than all the behind-the-scenes hedonism and racketeering.
This film is at its best when revelling in the riotous world of male stripping, offering enough style and humour to provide a guilt-free girls’ night out.
The Inexpert Impressions
Should you go and see Magic Mike? The pros and cons
Pro: Channing Tatum is a brilliant dancer
Con: Matthew McConaughey wears a yellow Lycra crop top
Pro: There are more outfit changes than Katy Perry at the MTV Awards
Con: Matthew McConaughey is creepy (but he is meant to be and is actually very, very good)
Pro: It proves my ingenious theory that Matthew McConaughey is only visible to the world when topless. If he clothes his upper body, he disappears forever.
—Hannah Swerling, Commissioning Editor
If you expect Magic Mike to be a matter of oiled abs and squeal-making hen-party antics, you’ve been had. Sure, it’s both of those things, in parts, but this film—one of the most intentionally mis-marketed piece of cinema in recent memory—is about self-reckoning. Channing Tatum plays the hot, dumb, modestly ambitious Mike, a mentor to Alex Pettyfer’s new boy about the bar.
The oiliest of oiled abs belong to Matthew McConaughey, a waxed Wonka of nocturnal gyrations who’s scarily committed to The Show. Watching them hump the stage through late-night shows and struggle through the daylight hours can be discomfiting. Thankfully, the cinema is dark enough to hide the most scandalised blushes. And man, can Tatum dance.
—Emily Cronin, News Editor
Well, that was not quite The Full Monty-esque comedy I was expecting. Gritty, graphic and dark (the ultimate action man Channing Tatum is even spied shedding a tear), Magic Mike—in my humble opinion—isn't exactly a film I'd recommend to a gaggle of lustful ladies on a night out. Anything with Ryan Gosling in, on the other hand...
Director Steven Soderbergh is back to his thoughtful best, but don't be fooled by the film posters—there may be more oil than a Johnson's factory, but it's not exactly Ocean's 11 slick. In fact, the script has been kept so real, almost minimal, that it borders on mumblecore. Plus, keep an eye out for new boy Alex Pettyfer (a very young, very hot Caleb Followill off of the Kings of Leon doppelganger) merrily gyrating. I may have been baffled by false advertising, but at least I have that image emblazoned onto my smiling face. So for that, I thank you, Steven.
—Laura Davies, Sub-Editor
The ELLE team watched Magic Mike at Cineworld, Shaftsebury Avenue.