Mike (Channing Tatum) is a stripper. He’s also a contractor and furniture business entrepreneur. He’s actually a pretty stand-up young man. Adam (Alex Pettyfer) isn’t as put together, but his sister wants him to be. So when she ventures out to Xquisite, the all male dance revue, she exclaims “I was hoping it was all a joke.” I don’t blame her, I thought it was too. Mike responds, “No, but it is pretty funny.” He’s also right.

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“Magic Mike” is indeed about a male strip club. The other strippers and their routines were all very funny. They definitely went too far at times, but I think that was part of the joke. Matthew McConaughey, as the club owner, seemed to be playing a character playing himself. A sort of tongue-in-cheek joke making fun of the types of roles he gets. He was fearless, willing to say or do anything to get the joke. There is something special about an actor like that.

Shortly before the release, positive critics reviews started coming out plus the realization that this was directed by Steven Soderbergh. It makes one think that perhaps there is more to this movie than just guys stripping. Well, yes and no. The majority of this movie is about the lifestyle that accompanies male strippers with plenty of scenes for the predominantly female audience to ogle at their dance moves. As expected, that gets annoying quickly.

Also as expected, the lifestyle that accompanies male strippers involves easy women and drugs, all of which can be bought with a lot of money. Mike tries to stay out of that style of living. He knows what he wants in life and the “proper” way to get it. On the other hand, Adam very much wants the hard-living style; that’s exactly where he wants to be in life. This leads to a brilliant sequence, near the end of the film, where Mike is old enough to be passed his quarter-life crisis while Adam is just approaching his. But one is at more of a cross-roads than the other.

I am also assuming that Soderbergh has chosen to direct this just to do something different. Choosing interesting light effects and strange camera angles, just for fun I suppose. This is a genre that is not known for being inventive and I don’t think much of his effort was necessary. But the characters and particularly their dichotomies that he added makes the film worth it.