Magic Mike

WRITTEN BY: Reid Carolin
DIRECTED BY: Steven Soderbergh
STARRING: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello
RATING: 3 stars

I've never understood the appeal of strippers. Why anyone would want an almost naked stranger dancing on top of them while dozens of other people watch is beyond my comprehension. But, Magic Mike is not just a film about strippers. It's about what it is like working as a stripper – the fun, money, struggles, sex and drugs. It's a dramatic film but it's also funny and romantic. There's obvious eye candy that will have women giggling like school girls in the cinema, but there's also a deeper story that is worth a look.

Loosely based on Channing Tatum's own experiences as a teenage stripper, Magic Mike chronicles the journey of Mike (Tatum) a man who has been stripping at a Tampa club for several years to save enough money to get his furniture business up and running. When he meets Adam (Alex Pettyfer) a struggling 19-year-old boy at his day job in construction, Mike decides to introduce him to Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) who runs the strip club. Mike convinces Adam to try stripping for some extra cash and to help make the show better so they can expand the business. Soon Adam is drawn into the world of strippers, alcohol, drugs and sex with random women, much to the dismay of his sister, Brooke (Cody Horn).

What a year it has been for Tatum with three big films in 2012 (The Vow and 21 Jump Street were released earlier this year). In Magic Mike he seems most comfortable and it's probably because he's almost playing his former self. McConaughey almost steals every scene he's in because he's so outrageous and sexy as the club boss. It's the perfect role for him. The other dancers are also well cast, especially Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello. Unfortunately the female leads were not up to the standard of the men. Olivia Munn's character was so unbelievable while Cody Horn was too awkward playing Brooke.

The choreography in the film is a major highlight. Whether you enjoy seeing strippers or not, the dancing itself is actually very good. Magic Mike may have seemed like an odd choice for director Steven Soderbergh but he's managed to make what may have otherwise been a B-grade movie quite enjoyable and insightful to watch. This is a film almost every straight woman and gay man around the world can enjoy. Straight men might even learn something too.