Despite being directed by Steven Soderbergh, who has had another one of his diversely successful years, I had little interest in seeing Magic Mike. I assumed it would be something of a cross between The Girlfriend Experience and Showgirls. In some ways this is exactly what Magic Mike feels like, but that ends up being a good thing. There is some of the exploitation, humor and camp of Showgirls within the independent and more restrained style of Soderbergh’s lower budget films.
The highlight of the film ends up being dancing more than stripping, and a great deal of the credit for that must go to star and co-producer Channing Tatum, whose big break in film came with Step Up. There are plenty of suggestive dance moves and more abs than can be counted, but there is more talent and skill in the performances than one expects to see from a stripper. The production value of the film increases any time the characters are onstage, and these are some entertaining sequences which are featured several times over in the Blu-ray extras as well, but the success of Magic Mike is how compelling the film remains even when the stars put their shirts back on.
The script by Reid Carolin is the first thing to be commended, creating a cliché world with reinvigorating dialogue and characters. The actual plot is fairly predictable, but a charming cast of likeable characters with well-written dialogue and a seasoned director at the helm it doesn’t matter that we know what is coming. The film is enjoyable even if we can see the ending before it comes.
The Blu-ray has extended versions of a few major dance numbers, as well as a “Dance Play” option for viewing the film. It does exactly what it says, playing all of the dances while skipping everything in-between in the film. There is also a featurette about the process the stars took to become accustomed to the world of male stripping. The Blu-ray combo pack comes with a DVD and a Ultraviolet copy of the film as well.