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'Magic Mike' is more than rock hard abs and pumped up biceps portrayed in the trailers. Where staged dancing and piped-in music stop, an inkling of something more real starts.

It's Raining Men

RATED: ★ ★ ★ buckets | WORTH: Matinee or Rental

Rated: R  Language, brief graphic nudity, pervasive sexual content and some drug use.
Release Date: June 29, 2012
Runtime:  1 hour 50 minutes

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writers: Reid Carolin
Cast:  Matthew McConaughey, Channing Tatum, Olivia Munn. Alex Pettyfer, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer

SYNOPSIS: An experienced male stripper takes a younger dancer named The Kid under his wing, teaching him the ways of dancing, partying, picking up women, and making easy money.

REVIEW: Steven Soderbergh, director of films such as Contagion, The Ocean's trilogy, and the recent Haywire, takes a turn on the stage with a group of male strippers. With a story written by scribe Reid Carolin (Earth Made of Glass), who also makes an appearance in the film, Soderbergh and a buff cast try to make the most they can for tips.Thirty-year-old Mike (Channing Tatum, The Vow) spends his days as a roof tiler, running a mobile custom detailing service, and creating one of a kind furniture concepts. At night, he rules the stage as Magic Mike in a all-male revue. When down-and-outer Adam (Alex Pettyfer, I Am Number Four) misses the mark on the construction site, Mike takes pity on him at a nightclub then at the stripper show. When muscle head Tarzan (Kevin Nash,Rock of Ages) can't perform, Adam, nicknamed 'The Kid' by Mike, takes the stage and delights the female audience. Learning the stripping basics from owner and former stripper Dallas (Matthew McConaughey, Bernie) and hanging out with Mike in their spare time, Adam quickly becomes accustomed to the lifestyle of easy money, drugs, alcohol, and adoring women. Adam's sister Brooke (Cody Horn, Occupant) worries that the lifestyle will corrupt her little brother but charges Mike with the task of keeping him safe and on the straight. But while Mike tries to find solid footing in his own life and to create a solid financial future for himself, he looses sight of how deep the young Adam is falling into the trappings of the trade.

In 2000, Steven Soderbergh was nominated for directing Erin Brockovich and took home the directing Oscar for the dramatic drug-laced Traffic. From the clinical, slowly gestating work of Contagion to the dry stoic charm of The Informant!, Soderbergh's directing career is both prolific and varied. With Magic Mike, the director trades in the grainy hot sepia ofTraffic for the bright lights and neon reds and blues of Tampa pursuing the more desirable location of Miami. He balances the glitz and the sweat of the stage and clubs with the reality of what lives backstage.

Rumored to be partially based on Channing Tatum's own experiences as a male dancer,Magic Mike delivers the seedy to go to with the staged sweat. A peek behind the velvet curtains and through all of the props reveals chiseled men who sew their own costumes, come up with their own themed acts, and pump up before their time on stage, both with bar bells and with other contraptions. Women scream with ecstacy with dollar bills in their hands around the stage while Adam 'The Kid' starts dealing the drug of the same name to enhance his already bulging wallet. 

Channing Tatum pops and locks his way around the stage with ease, while his character struggles to move to the next stage of his life. McConaughey's chiseled Dallas runs the show as owner, banging on bongos and shouting 'alright, alright, alright' as a homage to his own real life. Pettyfer's Adam goes from rundown to runway. The rest of the ab-packed chracters includes Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello, What to Expect When You're Expecting), Ken (Matt Bomer, In Time), and Tito (Adam Rodriguez, CSI). The women in Mike's life include good-timer Joanna (Olivia Munn, I Don't Know How She Does It) and the more permanent Joanna.

Magic Mike is much more than the rock hard abs and pumped up biceps portrayed in the commercials and trailers. Where the staged dancing and piped-in music stop, an inkling of something more real starts. Proving that earning easy money does not equate to an easy life, even the accolades of ovulating women may not be enough for a fulfilled life.

Check out all of the most recent movie reviews @ www.HotButterReviews.com.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Elise Pearlman July 01, 2012 at 02:48 PM
a great and thoughtful review! bravo!!


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