When it comes to the film MAGIC MIKE, it’s easy to dismiss it as a simplistic male version of the film SHOWGIRLS, or STRIPTEASE. While it may be easy to make this comparison, it’s certainly not fair. What Steven Soderbergh has done with Mike is make a film that takes a world that is incredibly superficial and make a deep and heartfelt film out of it, but he’s done something even more impressive. He’s solidified what’s been becoming more and more evident, and that is that Channing Tatum is a real actor now. A really great actor.
If ever there was a film that set the tone perfectly from the start it is Magic Mike. Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) is seen giving the ladies at Xquisite the cautionary speech about what women and can and can’t touch. As serious as he takes that speech is how serious all of the characters in the film are. The only exceptions to that being Mike (Channing Tatum), the main star of the show at Xquisite. He’s got aspirations beyond stripping, and manages several business. But a cash-only existence isn’t all it’s cracked up to be and while he may be flush with cash, he’s low on credit and can’t get some of his business off the ground. Along the way, he runs into a down and out kid who needs a job. When put to the test of wrangling ladies, Adam (Alex Pettyfer) excels and secures a place as the newest member of Xquisite’s All-Male Revue show. Adam’s a hothead, and he’s got a protective sister who asks that Mike look out for him. The connection they share is evident from the start, but it’s easy to understand her apprehension.
The quality of Tatum’s performance will more than likely be dismissed because of his actual past as a male stripper. That would be just as unfair as calling Magic Mike a male Showgirls. The authenticity of his performance is something to be admired. In this role Channing Tatum manages to go through the full spectrum of emotions, something that’s incredibly hard to do on camera regardless of whether or not your playing a version of your former self. Here, Tatum is charming, dramatic, funny, goes through disappointments, disappoints others and doesn’t know how to react. There’s a warmth and heart to this role that he’s never really delivered before.
Earlier this year Channing Tatum showed that he can be hilariously funny in 21 JUMP STREET. It’s worth going back through his extensive filmography and figuring out at which point he decided to improve upon his craft because the year he’s having is kind of amazing.
Magic Mike is certainly more than a great performance by Channing Tatum. There isn’t a weak performance here to be seen. Even Kevin Nash’s lack of dance skill is more funny than it is a deterrent to the quality of the film. Soderbergh even managed to get away from the strange music that didn’t seem to match the events in HAYWIRE.
It may not be easy to take a film like this seriously, but luckily, it’s a great quality film, unlike Showgirls and Striptease. Ladies, there’s a lot for you to love in this film, obviously. Guys, let your girlfriend drag you to this film, there’s a good movie here.