Directed by Steven Soderbergh
With several strong performances and a premise bound to attract a largely female audience, Magic Mike is yet another standard, but well-done drama from veteran director Steven Soderbergh.
As previously mentioned, the acting in this movie is quite good. One of these performances, shockingly, is from actor Channing Tatum. Why, might you ask, was Channing Tatum so well-suited to this role? The answer to this is practically in the question, as he once was a male stripper. Much of this screenplay was supposedly based on his own life, so, before I start praising his performance, keep in mind that no method acting was required for him to be convincing. Keeping that in mind, this is easily the strongest performance he has delivered yet, giving more than just an adequate lead, but rather providing a depth never seen before in his acting. Though this isn't a great performance, it was still remarkable acting from someone I had never previously taken seriously as a performer.
Tatum's performance may have been a surprise, but no bigger than McConaughey's universally-acclaimed supporting performance - one which may or may not earn him his first Oscar nomination. He has proven himself to be a perfectly adequate actor in the past, but this is the kind of performance that could truly boost his career above the likes of Kate Hudson rom-coms from now on. After Frailty, The Lincoln Lawyer, and now this, it's hard not to take McConaughey seriously as an actor any more. He may not be of the highest caliber, but he is definitely one to look out for in future (and possibly present) Oscar races.
But despite generally strong performances, there isn't much more this movie has to offer. The story is typical, the characters are generic, and due to Soderbergh's sterile method of film-making, the movie itself is not much of a technical marvel. It's a sometimes entertaining (though, almost assuredly, more entertaining for female viewers), but largely uninspired drama. Apart from a decent enough script and several memorable performances, this movie is largely forgettable. That doesn't make it bad, but it's nothing I would rush out to see again.
No, I didn't love this movie. I thought it had many flaws, largely in the unoriginality and less-than-masculine appeal of it all, but I still appreciate it for what it was: a perfectly adequate, well-acted drama. Tatum and McConaughey were pleasant surprises, but there was little else here for me to praise.