‘Magic Mike’ Is No Tease

Courtesy of Warner Bros.

“Oh, HELLO!” exclaims a girl in a Tustin movie theater as a shirtless Channing Tatum rises from his one-night-stand bed as “Magic Mike,” a construction worker turned male stripper, in the recently released film of the same name.

With its parade of hunky shirtless men, A-list stars, and feel-good vibe, it is unlikely that the film as a whole will disappoint the girl and her friends. Yet, despite these attention-grabbing aspects, “Magic Mike” proves to be much more than just a virtual front seat at a star-studded male strip club.

The film features Channing Tatum in the title role of “Magic” Mike Lane, a male stripper with dreams of leaving his Tampa, Florida residence to start his own business in nearby Miami, as well as the equally delicious Alex Pettyfer as Adam, a 19-year-old college dropout who finds success in the male stripping business. This movie succeeds in being both a coming of age tale for its two protagonists and an exposure of the wild life of a male stripper, in addition to the abundant eye candy that its theatrical trailer promises.

“Magic Mike” begins with the meeting between Adam and Mike, when the older Mike gives Adam a ride home from a construction site at which they both work. Adam soon learns about Mike’s nighttime job, follows Mike to his performance space and, when a regular dancer is too sick to perform, takes the dancer’s place, bringing in a great amount of money and swoons from the young female crowd.

As months go by, Adam, much to the dismay of his sister he lives with, is whisked into a whirlwind of sex, drugs and partying as he becomes involved in the male stripping business. This includes not only further involvement with Mike as his mentor, but also an ever-beefy Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, the owner of the club at which the two perform.

Channing Tatum is truly in his element as Mike, a role based on his own personal experiences as a young male stripper and model. The film makes excellent use of Tatum’s dancing skills and bodily assets. As a man tempted by the possibility of someday owning his own business while also distracted by his current wild lifestyle, Tatum’s acting is quite good. He creates a likeable and believable lead character.

Heartthrob Alex Pettyfer presents a relatable character in Adam. Many viewers of the film will surely see a bit of themselves in the young and naïve character that eventually learns to take on the responsibilities of a full-blown adult.

Overall, the film succeeds in showing the wild lifestyle of a male stripper and providing a relatable story for its primarily young adult audience. Stripped, like its stars, of its advertisement as simply exploitation of Tatum and Pettyfer, “Magic Mike” carries a much deeper meaning while still providing plenty of salivation-worthy strip scenes. A fun, energetic and well-acted movie, “Magic Mike” is sure to be one of the most popular films of the summer.

Rating: 4/5