‘Magic Mike’ finds Soderbergh in typically expert form, despite the subject matter
Directed by Steven Soderbergh
Written by Reid Carolin
When does Steven Soderbergh sleep? Is it possible that he stays awake all day long? How else to explain the inexplicable speed with which he makes movies? Last September, Soderbergh had the big-budget film Contagion open to decent box office and acclaim. This January, he released the excellent, gritty actioner Haywire. Now, he’s behind the camera for Magic Mike, a drama focusing on male strippers in Tampa, Florida, because why the hell not? Based in part on the life experiences of Channing Tatum, who stars in and co-produced the film, Magic Mike is surprisingly assured and entertaining – only if Steven Soderbergh cranking out another expertly made film qualifies as surprising.
Tatum plays Mike, known as Magic Mike at Xquisite, a local strip club where he’s worked nights for six years while starting up various would-be legitimate businesses during the day. As the story (written by Reid Carolin) begins, Mike finds a fresh new talent in a slacker teen named Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who turned down a college football scholarship to mooch off the goodwill of his sister, Brooke (Cody Horn). Though Adam is initially taken aback by Xquisite, he soon gets a taste for stripping. More specifically, he gets a taste for the good life that comes with stripping: cash, beautiful women, drugs, and more. Mike, meanwhile, begins a tentative friendship with Brooke, and questions whether he wants to strip for his entire life, or follow his dream of making custom furniture.
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