Steven Soderbergh’s guilty-pleasure for sexually frustrated housewives fails to accomplish its modest thematic aspirations. As an all-male burlesque revue, “Magic Mike” is a mediocre effort at best. The film’s barely adequate dance routines don’t begin to approach the complexity of a corollary all-female cabaret you might see at the “Crazy Horse” in Paris.
A secondary thesis involving America’s troubled socio-economic terrain, tacitly informs the troubled social conditions that drive dancers like Channing Tatum’s title character Mike to encourage squealing women to stuff dollar-bills in their thong underwear. Romance is a neglected device that provides the film’s narrative third-wheel. Cody Horn has the unrewarding task of playing Brooke, the sister to Mike’s newly found dance apprentice Adam — a.k.a “The Kid” (Alex Pettyfer).
The story drifts and drags between dance set pieces — many of which involve a nearly over-the-hill Matthew McConaughey going half-monte-koo-koo like a reject from the Village People. You want homoeroticism in a mid-riff t-shirt and tiny spandex briefs — you've got it.
Screenwriter Reid Carolin’s debut feature script is a bucket of bolts. That Steven Soderbergh chose the junky source material is suspect. Even the way the film is shot draws unfavorable attention. An outdoor party sequence exists in a yellowy haze that sits at strange visual odds against the overall look of the movie. There’s no question that margarita-fuelled female audience members will find no faults with “Magic Mike.”
Glistening male abs and overstuffed packages should do the trick of satisfying their salivating lusts for soft-core stimulation. “Magic Mike” does manage to prove that women can be more expressively horny than men. Whoopie shit.
Rated R. 110 mins. (C-) (Two Stars - out of five/no halves)