Despite what you might think, Magic Mike actually has a plot and isn't all stripping all the time. The film follows Mike (Channing Tatum) as he befriends Adam (Alex Pettyfer) and introduces him to the world of stripping. The film highlights their escapades for three months as the duo ventures through various emotional highs and lows.
Magic Mike often skirts the edge of being rated R and NC-17, and while the story is fairly formulaic, I was pretty disappointed with how it all ended. Several main plot points simply occurred without much explanation—such as Adam being a terrible dancer who then suddenly becomes as good as Mike after one lesson with the overbearingly overconfident Dallas (Matthew McConaughey).
The casting is pretty impressive. Channing Tatum proves he can still dance, and he actually shows more acting range here than I think I've ever seen from him. Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello don't make as much of an appearance as I had suspected based on the film’s promotions, and I wish their characters had been better developed in the time they did appear on screen. The biggest disappointment came in the form of Olivia Munn, who seems to have the emotional range of Kristen Stewart. She tries to play everything cool, but it's too cool, so it comes across as boring and flat.
Steven Soderbergh always brings unusual visual elements to his films. Magic Mike has some interesting camera angles that stray vastly from the norm and create just enough interest to make me focus more on the scene because of the odd angle. It's initially disconcerting, but it's part of the Soderbergh shtick. The cinematography has a retro '70s vibe, from the colors to the sets. The music consists of a lot of cheesy pop songs, at least for the dance scenes, so that was a little disappointing, but something I probably should have expected.
Soderbergh's use of cut scenes to depict time passing was abrupt, but it often worked in favor of the film by cutting off sequences that might be a bit too risqué for the film’s R-rated audience. It's just difficult to shift from one extreme to another so quickly. Magic Mike definitely caters to a very specific audience, but it fails at dancing the fine line between pure entertainment and a film with a purpose.