Magic Mike opens with a chiselled Matthew McConaughey - here playing the sinister owner of a seedy male strip club in Tampa - parading around a stage, groping himself in front of a crowd of giggling and over-excited women and asking, rather provocatively in a southern drawl, "Can you touch this?" At this point, I thought I knew exactly what would happen.
The movie tells of a bunch of male strippers who shake what their momma gave them to earn some quick cash, but if you're expecting anything extremely torrid or raunchy, you may be disappointed. While there are buttocks galore and sculpted abs, this film is definitely not only about male stripping; there is a story beneath the sweat, thongs and gyrations.
Mike (Tatum) is a part-time roof tiler who makes up the bulk of his income as the headline stripper for a club called Xquisite. Tatum's real-life job as a stripper back when he was 19 has added a certain authenticity to his character – Magic Mike is definitely believable.
While Tatum's character here is an attractive, muscular stripper – he doesn't hold back bringing all that energy and insane dance talent that we are used to seeing in the Step Up series - he also plays the conflicted Mike well. We really do feel the loneliness, absence of fulfilment and frustration within Mike, and even those who fall into the Channing-Tatum-is-a-one-trick-pony mindset will be unable to deny that his acting is pretty good.
Mike takes 19-year-old college dropout Adam (Pettyfer) under his wing, introducing "The Kid" to a world of partying, sex, drugs and quick cash. Despite Mike's best efforts and promise to Adam's older and wiser sister Brooke (Horn) to look out for him, Adam sinks deeper into the world of stripping – the darker side of it.
As previously stated, Magic Mike isn't all about the stripping: there is a romantic element to it, too. This is the tale of a man who is transformed by love, or, probably more accurately, a man who feels compelled to change to win the affections of a girl. We see Mike - the side of him without the magic and bravado - realise that he wants more out of life. Six years in the stripping profession and heading on 30, he has an epiphany and rather compellingly says: "That's what I do, it's not who I am."
Snore? Well, with the mix of high-octane dancing, eye candy (unless you’re expecting the Full Monty) and comedy - especially from the brilliant McConaughey - this movie kind of works and is an entertaining watch. But, it is predictable as can be.