Of all the directors working today, it would be difficult to find a director who works with a variety of genres quite like Steven Soderbergh. And just in case you had forgotten, Soderbergh comes out with what might be his most unique film yet, even if the overall plot follows a story we’ve heard plenty of times. At that’s part of what makes Soderbergh so talented, capable of rehashing an old tale and making it completely his, and all he had to do was add in a dancing Channing Tatum.
Just in case every single girl on your Facebook or Twitter hasn’t informed you yet, thie movie is a story about Mike, a mid-20s guy who is talented at a number of different things, be it roofing during the day or aiming to start up his own customized furniture business in his spare time. Oh, and then there’s the little bit about him being a male stripper. And when a young co-worker named Adam (Alex Pettyfer) crosses his path, Mike takes him under his wing and leads him into a life of fun, sex, and money.
What makes the plot so similar is the fact that Adam has a sister with whom he lives with, and she will inevitably become the love interest of Mike. But what Soderbergh does different from other directors here is that he spends the majority of the time building the different characters, and then developing the love story much later in the film. He’ll sporadically give us clues as to where the movie is heading, but then pulls back quickly and goes back to adding depth to his characters. And what does he do to help distract us from noticing how slow the film is actually moving? By featuring some stripping routines that are simply magnificent from a choreography standpoint, and we become fixated and entertained to really worry about if we are getting a traditional plot or not.
Channing Tatum has been the subject of plenty of acting jokes since breaking through into Hollywood because of Step Up and Havoc, but he has really improved himself over the past couple years. With this and 21 Jump Street earlier this year, I’m at a point where I will be legitimately looking forward to any projects that he has lined up for the future. Alex Pettyfer was so-so, although you really had to question his motivations at times. Cody Horn was serviceable as Mike’s love interest, but I kept thinking during the entire film how the role would’ve been absolutely perfect for Abbie Cornish, who happened to play Tatum’s girlfriend in Stop-Loss. Matthew McConaughey plays the owner and manager of the club, and absolutely steals every scene he is in, providing plenty of laughs to go along with his chiseled abs.
Movies that are dismissed by most of the population (every single guy on the planet in this scenario) and then turn around to be pretty good films are always fun to discover. Steven Soderbergh continues to showcase his versatility as a director, transitioning from a two-part biopic of a Marxist revolutionist to a film that tracks a worldwide epidemic, and then following that up with a film about male strippers. He had a couple other films in there as well, but that’s essentially the path Soderbergh has taken the past four years after announcing his retirement. What him and Channing Tatum do here is create a fun and seductive movie that will provide girls with exactly what they were looking for, but at the same time making a good film that provides plenty of entertainment for the fellas as well. The parallels between the movie, its star, and its central character are uncanny, and certainly teaches us that we should never judge a book by its cover.