OK. So I’m 6’10” and when dressed reasonably still resemble a badly shaved bear. I could not sneak in to Magic Mike, I could not duck under the covers, pull up a hoodie or hide under a parasol (not manly I know, but I was looking for an absurdist third).
I walked in with my head held high and in full understanding that by going to see Channing – is that a tree ? - Tatum for two hours I was paying my wife back for all the films I had dragged her to see over the last year (yes that includes Prometheus).
What I had failed to realise was three things. That Magic Mike is directed by Steven Soderbergh (yes the Director of 'Solaris' and producer of 'From a Scanner Darkly'), that the actors (Tatum included) can actually dance and pulled off some brilliant moves, and that it was, rather than being a film about the sausage fest that is the ‘ladies night’, a film about what it means to be a man. My contention is that Magic Mike is not a film for the ladies at all: it is squarely a film for the guys and one of my best of the year. (Suck on it Ridley.)
Set in Tampa, it follows part-time roofer and full-time stripper ‘Magic’ Mike (Channing Tatum) and new guy Adam (I’m sure actor Alex Pettyfer is a Brit, if so his yank accent is impeccable) and their experiences in the clubs. But where other directors would have either gone all ‘Chicago’ or worse ‘Dogme’, Soderbergh hits the fine line that produces an examination of what is most important in life, up there with films like ‘Lost in Translation’ and ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s’. More than this he explores what it means to be a man in the modern and traditional senses – where it chimes with the very best of modern cinema including the sublime ‘Drive’ and the Manic 13 Assassins.
I will say no more other than I recommend it for what it is, a well-directed, well-acted piece of drama that left me feeling lifted.
Take your wife this weekend!