Title: Magic Mike
Genre: Comedy, Drama
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Soderbergh’s down-spiraling career (after winning a BEST DIRECTOR OSCAR award for TRAFFIC 2000) has been bumpy and contentious which may also hurdle the decision of giving Oscar to young talents since the post-Oscar symptom does have a much conspicuous effect on youngsters. Here’s my encapsulated list of Soderbergh’s films I’m been watched, OCEAN’S THIRTEEN (2007, 6/10), THE GOOD GERMAN (2006, 5/10), BUBBLE (2005, 7/10); OCEAN’S TWELVE (2004, 6/10), SOLARIS (2002, 4/10), OCEAN’S ELEVEN (2001, 7/10), ERIN BROCKOVICH (2000, 8/10), TRAFFIC (8/10) and SEX, LIES, AND VIEDEOTAPE (1989, 7/10). So clearly I have avoided his works for five years, if it is for the sake of its out-of-expectation box-office performance and male-stripper source, the gap would be longer.
The film is not Soderbergh’s best, since the story entwines with a script full of banality, but nevertheless it is a successful touchstone on the bankability of naked beefcake, which has countered the over-plowed female sex appeal. Female audience has gratifying embraced it with a vengeance, the inversion of exploitation (thanks to an extra pushing from the budding gay audience) has become another profitable golden mine for the behind-the-curtain Hollywood tycoons.
Speaking of the film itself, it is magnificently pleasant to watch, while everyone on screen has a gorgeous physique (save the screenwriter Reid Carolin maybe, who has a cameo role as the ex-BF) and Channing (Magic Mike) is a true show-stopper (whose heyday comes earlier this year), his stripper antics are just dashing but unsurprising (if one familiars with her breakthrough turn in STEP UP, 2006, a 5/10). Pettyfer is a rookie which should reflect Channing’s own experience, and he is a pretty-face with a lean-but-beefy body, but the film has to diverge from his story and put a decent amount of screen time about Magic Mike, so maybe we will see more of him in its sequel.
The strongest arm from the cast actually should be Matthew McConaughey (sorry Bomer, your role is really under-excavated), who is the only award-worthy candidate (a golden globe nomination maybe, but he has another two more daunting films will come this year, MUD and THE PAPERBOY, so a final Oscar nomination might not be a pipe dream). Personally I think we should pat on the back of Cody Horn, whose naturalistic acting has a charming chemistry with Mr. Tanning.