Magic Mike is a weird movie. It’s essentially a musical, except instead of big Broadway numbers you have male strippers (Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer) cavorting on stage, routines with such meticulous choreography and high production values that they’re as fantastical as a town spontaneously breaking into song. Outside of these scenes, Steven Soderbergh slaps an anaemic yellow filter on the lens while portraying everyday partying and shit shooting.
It all feels aimless; supposedly based on Tatum’s own rise to Hollywood stardom after beginning his career as a stripper, the film never comes up with a reason for existing other than the stripteases that dominated its marketing (it’s remarkably balanced when it comes to nudity, with as many boobs as dongs). It’s all very earnest – Showgirls for ladies, this ain’t – but that earnestness never amounts to anything substantial.
That yellow filter seems like it’s supposed to represent how Tatum’s titular stripper finds meaning on the catwalk – you know, everything else is washed out and faded, that sort of thing – but that stands in contrast to a narrative that sees Mike becoming disillusioned with the industry as his young protégé (Pettyfer) makes some poor decisions. One of Soderbergh’s lesser films.