First Hit: The girls in the audience (both in the film and in my theater) really enjoyed these well sculpted males.
This story was somewhat unique in that male exotic dancers are rarely the subject of a film.
Mike (played by Channing Tatum) is “an entrepreneur”. He is a roofer, he does odd jobs, he’s a male exotic dancer, and his love is furniture making. He does everything well and he cares. As a dancer he is phenomenal. His moves are like “magic”.
He works in a club owned by Dallas (played by Matthew McConaughey). Dallas is in-charge and it is evident. He’s also great at making his dancers feel good about working in his club while he enriches himself. He’s got a dark side but it is rarely evident.
Adam (played by Alex Pettyfer) is a lazy lost young man who won’t wear a tie for a job, but really finds something wrong with every job he thinks about. He lives with his sister Brooke (played by Cody Horn) who has a steady job in medical insurance and is very protective of her younger brother. One day Mike takes Adam to Dallas’ club. He’s thrown on stage and lo-and-behold, he has found something he can do and he makes money – easy cash.
Brooke asks Mike to take care of her young brother although she disapproves of Adam and Mike’s chosen field of work. Mike has an occasional, on-call girlfriend named Joanna (played by Olivia Munn) who does three-ways with him, is a psychologist, and is very seductive. She appears in the film in an on-call basis until her truth becomes known to Mike.
The film isn’t about the dancing, which is some cases extraordinary, it is about growing up and living one’s truth.
Tatum is strong and wonderful in his portrayal of a man who really wants to find a different life, but shows enough internal roadblocks to make mistakes in judgment. McConaughey is perfect as the somewhat sleazy male dancer night club owner. Pettyfer is good as the lost young man but there isn’t enough understanding as to why he’s so dead set against doing various jobs (where was his pain?). Munn is very good as a woman who lives two lives and likes to play with Mike. Horn is a revelation. I really liked her look and feel as her character. She felt real in her role. Reid Carolin wrote a very strong script. Steven Soderbergh delivered yet another excellent film. The direction was clear, strong, and crisp – no wasted scenes.
Overall: This was a very entertaining film as the girls in the audience vocally reminded me.