directed by Steven Soderbergh
Say what you will about Steven Soderbergh and his filmmaking choices, but his canon clearly shows that he is an artist dedicated to following his own vision, wherever that may take him. And whether it’s the visual and metaphysical beauty of Solaris, the mumblecore-esque reality of Bubble, the razzle-dazzle good time of Ocean’s Eleven, or the quiet magic of Che, Soderbergh films are always competently filmed and astutely realized. So, when I went to see Magic Mike with my wife the other day, I had high albeit wary expectations about his newest endeavor. And though I had expected a lot of things about Magic Mike, I never expected to be let down by generic, banal narrative. Magic Mike tells the story of Mike (credibly played by Channing Tatum), a jack of all trades slash male stripper who takes Adam, aka The Kid (Alex Pettyfer), under his wing. The problem with this movie, however, is not the premise or the acting, for all involved do a wonderful job of bringing their roles to life, from the self-obsessed scumbag rockstar strut of Matthew McConaughey to the slacker turned party monster transformation of Alex Pettyfer (props, Mr P). And it sure isn’t the directing. The problem with Magic Mike is that it starts off with a certain trajectory in its sights, a trajectory that may have been dark, but at least interesting, but by the end it had jumped the tracks and landed back in familiar, safe territory where there’s hope for Mike and all the snooze inducing crap that goes along with such bland films. I thought you knew better than that, Mr S. Too bad.