“Magic Mike”

Yes, “Magic Mike” is a movie about a male stripper, and as such, contains some of the cheesy routines you would expect to see at some male strip club in Tampa. Let’s see, there’s the cowboy theme, the hip-hop theme, the sailor theme.....well, you get the idea. There’s a “master of ceremonies” named Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), a former performer who now owns the club. His “star” attraction is “Magic Mike” (Channing Tatum), an athletic, all-American-looking guy who works as a roofer by day, but he’s really trying to start a custom furniture business, so he calls himself an “entrepreneur.”
One day on the construction site, Mike meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a kid who just dropped out of college and is trying to crash at his sister’s house while he figures out what to do. It isn’t long before Mike recruits Adam, who is reluctant, at first, but quickly shows the talent and inclination to be a dancer himself, and is an immediate sensation. He becomes so enamored with the easy money and the party lifestyle that he rapidly becomes profligate and self-dissipating, which causes our 30-something Mike to question whether this would be a good time for him to get out of the entertainment business.
Not coincidentally, Mike has met Adam’s sister, Brooke (Cody Horn), who strikes him as the only nice girl he knows. His “one-night stand” partner (Olivia Munn) is even withdrawing from him, and his relationship with Dallas continues to deteriorate, as it becomes plain to Mike that all the talk of being “partners” was really just hype and jive to make him work harder for the money.
This is a movie that tries to have heart, despite the grown men running around in thongs like chiseled weight lifters, and grown women squealing over them like drunken bimbos. But there are other issues. While McConaughey is surprisingly effective as the caustic overlord, Pettyfer tries to make the bewildered kid routine work too long. Horn is disappointingly flat and expressionless in her performance, which makes us wonder why she was even cast in this role, and then we discover that her Dad’s the Chairman of Warner Brothers, who released the film. Oh. That explains it.
Since the dancer guys, thankfully, don’t actually show us full frontal, Director Steven Soderbergh tries titillating the viewers with some gratuitous female nudity instead, which seems strangely irrelevant. Tatum, of course, has the acting credentials, and even the dancing experience, to actually make his role believable, but he has little help here.
Overall, “Magic Mike” is less bawdy than advertised, and more sensitive than expected, but not as enjoyable as anyone connected with it would have hoped.
Dr. Ronald P. Salfen, Minister, St. Stephen’s Presbyterian Church, Irving, Texas