Magic Mike is a quite entertaining male strip show for the ladies, with codpieces instead of g-string and musclemen, but not weightlifters, especially Matthew McConaughey and Channing Tatum, baring almost all in routines that represent gymnastics more than dancing, dominating most of the movie until a veneer of social concern slips in a vein of wages of sin toward the end; men will get to know what it’s been like for the ladies to have to compete with the likes of Scarlett Johansson and Angelina Jolie: I suspect that such males bodies as Magic Mike displays are just as artificial, by way of physical therapy, as Playmate bodies, though with less surgery.
The routines in McConaughey’s Xquisite Dance Review, unfortunately usually shown in snippets, admittedly require little ability to dance; McConaughey’s directions are mostly about attitude, which is highly exhibitionistic and joyfully vulgar; the settings in the club and elsewhere tend toward flashy conspicuous consumption plus pulchritude and general good times, as attractive as the beach world of Annette Funicello and Frankie Avalon but without the innocence.
Efforts to bring in the dangers of such an effortless hedonistic life are late and halfhearted; Magic Mike is a dream world, and reality is not welcome. Drugs come in from the outside, and sexually transmitted diseases, though mentioned, do not come in at all. Those who have as attractive alternate as Cody Horn may take warning, but even Horn doesn’t disapprove of McConaughey’s world; she just sees dangers in it that are not very seriously shown. The less-than-centerfold women who patronize the club show up late, briefly, and just barely visibly; I suspect that reality would find them more prominent. But who needs reality? Magic Mike is an escape from it.