Steven Soderbergh's much anticipated new male stripper movie "Magic Mike" finally screened for critics last night as the closing night film of the Los Angeles Film Festival. So did the film impress like the bodies on display?
So far the early buzz has been positive, especially with regard to Channing Tatum's performance. While the film has been described as "'Showgirls' with men," critics say the film offers more than just hot guys in g-strings by reflecting on age, money and the cost of pseudo-fame, although at least one thinks the film doesn't go far enough in embracing its tawdry nature.
But most critics expect the film will be a hit amongst women and gay men, who will undoubtedly flock to the theater to see Tatum, Matthew McConaughey, Alex Pettyfer, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello take it all (mostly) off. Check out some of the early thoughts below:
David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter
"There’s a looseness and buoyancy to the filmmaking and to the naturalistic performances that keeps the story real, and while many of the key cast members have relatively little to do, even the smallest roles add texture. Tatum’s balance of breezy confidence and nagging restlessness is just right, while Pettyfer scores as the cocky new recruit dazzled by his sudden demi-celebrity."
Peter Debruge, Variety
"Ladies are gonna love "Magic Mike," a lively male-stripper meller inspired by Channing Tatum's late-teen, pre-screen stint as an exotic dancer. More low-calorie fun than any Steven Soderbergh movie since "Ocean's Eleven," this breezy offering ought to be subtitled "How Steven Got His Groove Back," as its typically high-minded director drops pretentions like tear-away pants. Meanwhile, enlisting a squad of Hollywood hunks to strip down to their thongs alongside him, Tatum (backed by producing partner Reid Carolin) drains the shame from a profession that gets no respect, serving up a guiltless girls' night out likely to rank among the summer's word-of-mouth sensations."
Kate Walsh, The Playlist
"It would seem that Soderbergh and Tatum are an odd couple, but Soderbergh has achieved a rare director/star symbiotic relationship with Tatum in this film—one where the director is able to fully distill the essence of his star and showcase his natural aura and charm in the very best light. The film is Tatum’s and he fills the screen with his easy smile and relaxed flirtation. He seems at home, at ease, probably because he’s playing a version of himself, but unlike other roles where he sometimes comes off as stiff (ahem) and tense."
Jen Yamato, Movieline
"One could simply call it absolutely spectacular on account of the man meat, which certainly delivers on raunchy, knowing fun. But it’s the deeper themes, captured in an observational style, that really make "Magic Mike" work as more than just a cheap thrill. It may be a stripper movie, but it’s also about economic self-determination and the struggle between art vs. commerce — and that goes as much for Soderbergh and Tatum as it does for the characters grasping for dollars, and their creative destinies, on-screen."
John Hazelton, Screen Daily
"With a milieu that’s more entertaining than its story, Steven Soderbergh’s "Magic Mike" casts Channing Tatum somewhat against type as a male stripper with entrepreneurial ambitions. The raunchy setting will certainly get the film noticed but it’s doubtful that Tatum fans will turn out in their usual numbers for this rambling, mildly edgy comedy drama."
Fred Topel, Crave Online
"It really feels like they’re embarrassed to make the male stripper movie, but they totally half assed the story anyway. Just be honest and do the male stripper movie. People will respect you more for that."