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Early Review Roundup: ‘Magic Mike’ Has Bare Bods, Backstage Fluffing and Right Amount of Heart

Early Review Roundup: 'Magic Mike' Has Bare Bods, Backstage Fluffing and Right Amount of Heart

Early reviews are coming in for Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper confection “Magic Mike,” the closing night gala at LA Film Fest. The ever adventurous Soderbergh seems to be in good form, working with a solid script and raucous performances, while tapping into the male camaraderie from his “Ocean’s” series. Review excerpts and links below.

Check out TOH’s takeaways from EW’S feature piece on “Magic Mike” here, and the film’s red band trailer and our TOH poll here. We’ll report back after seeing the film on June 27.

Peter Debruge, Variety:

“Soderbergh is in excellent form here, putting aside the ambitious experimentation that threw a wet blanket on such ostensibly sexy projects as ‘Full Frontal’ and ‘The Girlfriend Experience,’ while re-embracing the shooting techniques missing from ‘Contagion’ and ‘Haywire.’ (Once again, he serves as his own d.p., under the pseudonym Peter Andrews.) Tatum reportedly first approached Nicolas Winding Refn about making ‘Magic Mike,’ but here he has the benefit of not only Soderbergh’s commercial savvy, but also the good-humored generosity and keen anthropological interest the helmer brings to every project. No moment captures that sensibility better than an oblique glimpse of backstage ‘fluffing’ sure to rank among the year’s most amusing shots.”

John Hazelton, Screen Daily:

“Soderbergh gives the film a distinctive look and an almost verité feel that produces some effective sequences over the story’s early stages. Tatum is solid but a little bland as Mike. Pettyfer’s performance has a bit more edge and McConaughey steals several scenes as the raucous yet hard-headed Dallas.”

David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter:

“Following its closing-night premiere at the Los Angeles Film Festival, the Warner release should rake in girl and gay dollars on the strength of its ample man candy alone. The script by first-time screenwriter Reid Carolin (Tatum’s producing partner) is stronger on dialogue and character than on narrative originality or emotional conflict. But as Soderbergh showed in his ‘Ocean’s Eleven’ series, the director has a terrific feel for depicting male camaraderie, and the buddy elements should give ‘Magic Mike’ inclusive appeal.”

Katie 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… And, we can’t forget the ladies (though it is a man’s, man’s, man’s world in this movie). Soderbergh attempts to flip the script of the traditional feminist text, showing how women objectify, use and discard these men. Olivia Munn’s role is slightly more than an extended cameo as a grad student getting her rocks off with Mike, and the same can be said for Riley Keough as a strung out paramour of The Kid.”

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