Customer Review

15 of 18 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Lust, Caution, 16 July 2012
This review is from: Magic Mike [DVD] [2012] (DVD)
Tampa, Florida. What plot there is concerns Mike (Channing Tatum), a wannabe custom furniture salesman, who works by day on a building site and by night at Xquisite, a small but relatively classy strip joint looking to Xpand to Miami. Mike recruits Adam (Alex Pettyfer), a hedonistic 19-year-old, and soon the two of them are attracting the kind of business that enables the club's manager, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), to realise his ambitions. Meanwhile, Mike is taught a lesson in What's Really Important by Adam's sensible sister, Brooke (Cody Horn). Predictability ensues.

There's no story to speak of beyond the overfamiliar cautionary tale of excess, although it is neatly framed across three generations of men, each a decade apart: the young buck (Adam); the 30-year-old would-be-entrepreneur at a crossroads (Mike); and, most interestingly, the veteran still craving more, apparently on the road to self-destruction, possibly orgasmic self-combustion (Dallas). There's little jealousy or conflict between the men to disrupt the constant homoerotic throb. In fact the film is reluctant to pour water on any loins. It's a paean to virility.

Writer Reid Carolin and director Steven Soderbergh fail to get under the golden skin of any of the characters, perhaps out of fear that any time spent in contemplation might steal the vigour from the dance scenes. Better to treat the film as a purely physical experience. On this level the film is a chemical rush, way more haywire than Soderbergh's drab Haywire. Women and men attracted to men will adore the Adonises; heterosexual men should feel enervated and confident. (Those men who feel threatened should perhaps reflect on how idealised images of women have been making young girls feel for the past half-century.)

Pettyfer is functional; Tatum (once a stripper) is comfortable and believable; but the real magic belongs to McConaughey, wired and wide-eyed like an addict, locked in a permanent pelvic thrust as if magnetically led by and toward lust. Because everyone is smug - even the supposedly earthy Brooke - you become acclimatised to the extent that any glimmers of humility or tearfulness or introspection come across as profound.

Soderbergh has flitted between flying the flag for the beautiful elite and making intricate films with a liberal social conscience, and this fits firmly in the former camp. While it doesn't exist in the same unreal universe of the Ocean's films, Magic Mike is a film about life in an unreal world; at bottom (so to speak) an acknowledgement of the need for moderation, its conscience conservative.
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Showing 1-1 of 1 posts in this discussion
Initial post: 3 Oct 2012 23:32:21 BDT
Jobee says:
Loved how you portrayed Matt McConaughey...i thought he was EPIC and wanted to see more of him.
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