Women are always excited around him, scream for him to take his clothes off, and they ply him with money playfully. You can think of it as being on the meat market or being objectified, but for the stripper they call Magic Mike, the reason for sticking with this dream job is “money, women and a good time”.

Burlesque, which featured female strippers, had Christina Aguilera’s incredible singing and Cher’s attitude. Magic Mike offersa peek at the seemingly perfect lives of men who strip not out of desperation as in The Full Monty, but for its rewards.

Channing Tatum is Magic Mike, the Star Show at the Xquisite Club.

As for authenticity, this is based loosely on babyfaced starChanning Tatum’s real-life experiences as a Chippendale before he became an actor of recent movies as The Vow and 21 Jump Street. In fact, Academy Award winning director, Steven Soderbergh even set the movie in Tampa, Florida, where Tatum actually worked. We’re not complaining, since the beautiful seaside scenery provides an alternative backdrop to the ridiculously muscled men who could make the topless Abercrombie & Fitch welcome line up any day.

The men from Magic Mike putting on a show.

With Alex Pettyfer who plays Adam a.k.a The Kid, a 19-year-old dropout Tatum takes under his wing, by his side, the 2 of them continue to prove that they’re not just pretty faces with their commendable acting chops. Tatum especially, segues neatly from flashy male stripper-dancer to the average American man trying to achieve his dreams in just a matter of frames.

While playing Mike allows Tatum to milk his good looks, sculpted body and dance moves for all their worth, he also convincingly portrays a man trying to make his mark in society. He may be “Magic Mike”, the star attraction of his club, but he isn’t able to secure a loan for his dream business of furniture making, even when he presents stacks of dollar bills to the bank. His situation underlies a sad and uncertain reality that unveils itself slowly.

5 other beefcakes, including Matthew McConaughey as their boss, complete the ensemble at Xquisite Club. They also provide the chemistry and the laughter, mostly using typical locker room male humour.

Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) takes a break after a long day of work.

The strippers, reversing typical gender roles, represent the fantasy husbands/boyfriends of their female audiences, but being directed by Soderbergh, who counts the Ocean’s Trilogy among his works, there’s more depth to Magic Mike. It tries to shine the light on the less glamourous and illegal sideline of peddling drugs that some of these exotic dancers get drawn into.

The inevitable love story to drive the plot forward comes in the form of Adam’s sister, Brooke, played by newcomer Cody Horn. Upright and stern, she disapproves of the stripping-for-money lifestyle, or possibly is jealous of all the feminine attention Mike is getting, but can’t help but be charmed by him. But when he fails to shield her brother from the drug taking temptations of the job, he threatens their budding relationship. Like her or hate her, she acts as an anchor to reality in their sex-filled, drug-crazed world.

Brooke (Cody Horn) is Tatum's love interest in the film.

Rated M18 in Singapore, the film was, as expected, sordid in parts. While there wasn’t any full-frontal nudity from the actors, the film was redundantly speckled with topless women and excessive behaviours. The male strippers’ enactments of sexual intercourse with their female customers also require quite a liberal mind to accept. You will either love it or frown in disgust.

While entertaining, the film, despite being nearly 2 hours long, also ended rather abruptly. There was no clear conclusion to what will happen to the young and once-directionless Adam. UrbanWire can only hope that he doesn’t go back to dealing drugs after incurring a debt of $10,000, paid off by kind-hearted Mike.

In all, watching Magic Mike is like making a visit to Xquisite Club. It’s good for groups of girls and hen nights to invoke some harmless screams and squeals. Tatum has also confirmed that a sequel is in the making so keep your eyes open, girls.


Movie: Magic Mike
Rating: 3.5/5
Release Date: Aug 9 (Singapore)
Duration: 110 mins
Language: English
Age Rating: M18/Coarse Language, Sexual References & Nudity
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey\


Photo credits to http://www.hitfix.com