Director Steven Soderbergh doesn’t make Magic Mike just about painfully sexy men. He also stuffs a plot, along with dollar bills of course, into the cast’s G-strings.
Mike (Channing Tatum) and “The Kid” (Alex Pettyfer), all chiseled abs and asses, star in an all-male revue in Tampa. Mike supports his newbie pal from that first trip to the thong shop to his mounting drug problems, while trying to reach his own dream of starting a handmade-furniture business. He even places his tips under a book to flatten them so he doesn’t have to apply for loans with crinkled cash. The movie’s raunchy but honest comedy offers a refreshing, role-reversed look at selling sex (Tatum actually supported himself as a male stripper before turning to acting).
Themes like coming-of-age and financial freedom manage to sneak into the strip club, but the movie never takes itself too seriously: The stage shows pair cheeky tunes like “It’s Raining Men” with phallic props. Next step: Make this gem in 3D. — Christina Sterbenz
Dir. Steven Soderbergh; writ. Reid Carolin; feat. Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Olivia Munn (R)