Magic Mike isn't your typical summer blockbuster. There's not a spandex superhero costume in sight; in fact, there are hardly any clothes at all. Loosely based on actor Channing Tatum's days as a young male stripper in Florida, the film, which is directed by Steven Soderbergh and hits theaters Friday, is about a veteran stripper (Tatum), his green protege (Alex Pettyfer), and how the not-always-glamorous world of male-stripping affects both of their lives. (Watch the trailer below.) It's "arguably the raunchiest, funniest, and most enjoyably nonjudgmental American movie about selling sex since Boogie Nights," says David Rooney in The Hollywood Reporter. A litany of skin-baring promos for the film encourage women: "On June 29, tell your boyfriend you're going to book club." But while some critics think the film is wisely targeted at women and gay men, others aren't sure anyone will turn out for a film about male strippers. Can Magic Mike succeed?
It will be huge: Female audiences have reliably proven their box-office clout over the past several years, says Julie Hinds at the Detroit Free Press. And Magic Mike, which showcases barely-clothed stars with unabashed gusto, really "steps up the game" in appealing to women. Look at the wild popularity of the "explicitly erotic" Fifty Shades of Grey book series. Obviously, there's a big market for "sexy fantasy aimed at women." The trend of "marketing males as eye candy" has been growing for awhile, and it's about to explode.
"Magic Mike puts a twist on gender stereotypes with its story of male strippers"
It may disappoint: Soderbergh is an experimenter, says John Hazelton at Screen Daily. And while Magic Mike's "raunchy setting" should give it wider appeal than Soderbergh's quirkier efforts — The Informant!, The Girlfriend Experience — the fact that it's about male strippers will prevent the movie from reaching "the level associated with Tatum's mainstream action outings and romances." The actor's two most recent films, The Vow and 21 Jump Street, both grossed more than $100 million at the box office. Don't expect that sort of success for the much-edgier Magic Mike.
Either way, this film is great: If there's any justice in the world, Magic Mike will be a smash hit, says Jeffrey Wells at Hollywood Elsewhere. It's "one of those summer films that comes along once in a blue moon" — "sharp, wise and shrewdly observed." Soderbergh's filmmaking expertise permeates every frame, telling "you someone super-smart and focused is running the operation." Tatum, Pettyfer, and McConaughey deliver daring, undeniably entertaining performances. Magic Mike is a "fun romp filled with yoks and swagger and whoo-hoo," but is also "flush with indie cred."
"Mike slams it"
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