All the women I know are hot to see this movie. So were the women who packed the screening I attended, and they made their feelings known during the opening strip-club number—just like the adoring women onscreen. Then the story kicked in and everything changed.
So here’s a friendly word of warning: if all you’re interested in is eye candy, watching handsome hunks like Channing Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, and Alex Pettyfer gyrating and taking their clothes off, fine, but you’re going to have to slog through the rest of the picture, too. At the showing I attended you could feel the excitement evaporate; by the time the movie was over, the audience was silent.
The fault lies not with Tatum, who also produced the movie, but with a script (by Reid Carolin) that can’t justify taking up nearly two hours of screen time. Director Steven Soderbergh uses every trick in the book to keep the movie visually interesting; the editing is particularly dynamic. But it’s difficult to care about these characters.
Another problem is a leading lady (Cody Horn) who is dishwater-dull…different, I grant you, but still dull. She plays Pettyfer’s sensible sister who’s concerned when he falls under Tatum’s influence and begins stripping. Tatum is immediately attracted to her, but the feeling isn’t mutual.
Joe Manganiello, of TV’s True Blood, and Matt Bomer, from the cable series White Collar, are saddled with underwritten parts and get no chance to register at all, except onstage.
Magic Mike has a seemingly workable premise, about a would-be entrepreneur who’s trying to create building blocks for a better life, but it just doesn’t pan out. And a movie this long needs more than eye candy to hold an audience’s attention.