Channing Tatum shows as much heart as skin in “Magic Mike”

0 Submitted by on Thu, 28 June 2012, 23:06

From left, Joe Manganiello as Big Dick Richie, Alex Pettyfer as Adam/The Kid, Matthew McConaughey as Dallas, and Channing Tatum as Mike in "Magic Mike. Photo Glen Wilson.

By Sandra Kraisirideja

It seems women across the board are interested in “Magic Mike” for two reasons: Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum shirtless, and they aren’t embarrassed to say it or even justify their interest. The fact that “Magic Mike” actually has more going for it than just a bunch of well-toned shirtless men makes it a better movie, not worse.

Directed by Steven Soderbergh, “Magic Mike” features natural performances and conversational dialogue that often feels improvised. The motley crew of characters are engaging and likable, as portrayed by one of the most well-toned casts outside of Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator.” Led by the aforementioned McConaughey the cast also includes Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and Kevin Nash.

Channing Tatum as Mike in "Magic Mike." Photo Claudette Barius.

“Magic Mike” is a light story with some dramatic tension and very funny moments. The plot never gets too heavy or dramatic, but there is some tension to help keep the story moving.

The humor is natural and stems from the dialogue, the inflection of the character’s speech and the way a line is delivered. There is a bit of romance in the movie but it’s not the driving force. The relationship that develops between Tatum and Cody Horn is very organic and subtle.

With his choice of cinematography and intimate camera angles, Soderbergh it feels like we are listening in on the character’s conversations. As a result the movie feels grounded in reality instead of being a glamorized, Hollywood version of being a male stripper.

Fortunately, “Magic Mike” also doesn’t go too far in the other direction, becoming too dark and gritty just to prove that it’s a serious movie. Soderbergh found a way to present the movie in a way that wasn’t tongue-in-cheek or so serious that it takes the fun and enjoyment out of the dance scenes.

Soderbergh really spotlights Tatum’s dancing ability whenever possible. While the movie is probably not autobiographical, Tatum did work as a male stripper for eight months in Tampa, FL after dropping out of college.

“Magic Mike” is Tatum’s second film with Soderbergh and the director seems to understand how to bring out his natural acting ability. He seems more at ease in this movie and not so earnest. Tatum really shines in the dance sequences and proves how immensely talented he is.

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