In Magic Mike, a comedy set in a Tampa male strip club, you will scope a lot of barely dressed, finely toned and manscaped dudes, variously bumping, grinding and gyrating for your viewing pleasure. There's also an easy-to-follow plot that tips its hat to such classics as 42nd Street, Valley of the Dolls, Flashdance and countless other wanna-be-a-star backstage melodramas. And if you care to stretch your brain just a bit, there's even a subplot about how tough it is in today's recession-ravaged Florida for an ambitious young man who just wants to make designer furniture out of trash.
But Steven Soderbergh's film is mostly fun, grooving along on winning performances from Channing Tatum (whose real-life experience stripping and dancing pays off here), Cody Horn as his potential love interest and Matthew McConaughey, as the deliciously douchey club owner. There's some silly cautionary stuff about getting sucked into sleaze and drugs — here, Alex Pettyfer portrays the fallen ingénue — and Soderbergh shoots such scenes, with no apparent irony, in the best tradition of 1960s freak-out movies.
But various bummer notes aside, folks looking to outlay their crumpled ones for mancake and amusing banter will find Magic Mike the ideal summer companion. I wished this film had been campier, more self-aware of its silly charms and hokey plot, but it's not a deal-breaker.