Magic Mike (2012) is a weird concept to start with. An actor wants to re-create the times of his youth, when he was stripping in front of excited female audience in a place called ehmm Tampa? And Steven Soderbergh finds this a very good idea to play with indeed. To tell you the truth, the idea comes out a bit generic, but I ought to give credit to the showtime. These gentlemen know how to dance, but does this make them good actors?
Let me see: it pretty much does, in the case of Pettyfer and McConaughey; in other words, this film comes close to a disaster for Channing Tatum, in my humble opinion. From the artistic point of view, that is. He co-produced and starred in it, but the ones that shine are his co-stars, instead. Needless to say, he is the one to get the money, so it can be seen as an exuberantly successful economic venture; which will actually have a follow-up -the sequel is already announced, by the time that the film was grossing millions on its first weekend of screening in the States.
Nevertheless, the greedy and sleazy strip owner that is Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer who portrays the loser and shallow twenty something, in a direct contrast with his older (not really) sister, serious and contained Cady Horn, those three are the real stars of the film. Especially, the younger ones. Which is what makes Tatum seem insufficient; their glow and their natural look and posture are inimitable. Whereas, Tatum wears the bewildered face of his, his chunky body and plays...himself. Not very convincingly, which doesn't make any sense, I know. He is not convincing, because the of the I-am-acting-right-now effect, a certain stiffness and detachment from the character and his possible feelings.
In fact, I find it hard to believe that Soderbergh of Bubble (2005) that was all about being natural missed it here. Or maybe he didn't bother directing Tatum too much. I can hardly tell.
* The film is an overall pleasant experience, not of unsurmountable depths, but not disturbingly shallow either. Easy and predictable, with some quality acting and genuine tragicomic situations all the way long. And music. And male stripping. Eh, what else?