This mixture of people set me up for my next surprise. A plot. Mike (Tatum) befriends young strapping Adam (Alex Pettyfer) on Adam's first day of work, bluffing his way into a roofing job and assigned to Mike as a partner. Adam, who lives with his older sister Joanna, (played with a great, controlled natural style of acting by actress Olivia Munn) has been drifting aimlessly through life with his sister enabling him to do so. Joanna immediately becomes the love interest for Mike and so he takes young Adam under his wing ultimately having him join ranks in his fly by night stripping gig hosted by Dallas (Matthew McConaughey). From here it could have easily been a tits and ass fest but with a script from writer Reid Carolin and under Sonderbergh's direction it becomes a lesson in the seedy underbelly of the stripping world.
Surprisingly dark and more plot then one would expect from a movie loosely inspired by Tatum's real life stripping past the film evolves into male bonding, a nice love story and the perils of a fast life, fueled by sex, drugs and money. Some great routines from the guys and a very carefully choreographed Tatum getting out of bed naked had the ladies, and the guys, straight and gay gasping out loud.
Surprisingly, the ensemble cast, with the exception of McConaughey are barely developed as characters and really could have been played by any beefed up minimum wage actor looking for his big break. Likewise, there are a lot of stripping sequences that are long and don't add much after the first big number and could have been shortened but in all, Mike and crew work their magic over the audience and their screen persona's lives.
I walked into the evening expecting a mindless lighthearted film about a bunch of Tampa strippers but instead Magic Mike left me and the ladies in the front row holding their dollar bills breathless and wanting an encore. Surprise! Magic Mike is more than expected and a good view for all.
Rated R by the MPAA for sexual content, brief graphic nudity, language and drug use.
Running time: 1:10 minutes.