Magic Mike's au naturel act sadly not that flash

03:39, Aug 17 2012
Magic Mike

If you could have a movie star over for dinner, who would you invite?

I think I’d have to go for George Clooney. Not because he is my favourite actor but because he appears in possession of great wit, a good heart and an interesting brain. Plus I reckon after a few Nelson wines he would be a huge gossip.

If Clooney was busy, though, I wouldn’t hesitate to ask his Ocean’s 11 to 13 costar Matt Damon over instead.

Anyone who has ever seen Damon interviewed will know he comes across as a very likeable guy; a man who can talk knowledgeably and passionately about everything from US politics to Middle East oil (okay, so maybe they’re the same thing) as well as enjoy a good laugh, often at his own expense.

Another thing I like about him is that he is a fine impersonator. Truth be told, Damon only does one impersonation, publicly anyway, and that’s of fellow Hollywood star Matthew McConaughey.

It’s an uncanny likeness and very funny. Damon has done it several times on The David Letterman Show and each time mimics the frequently topless McConaughey coming up with reasons why he should take his shirt off.

The first time he revealed this talent was in 2007 while promoting Ocean’s 13, which was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Damon told Letterman that for a laugh on set each day he would pretend to be McConaughey and say things like: ‘‘Ahhh ... Mr Soderbergh ... today’s scene I think it would be a good opportunity for me to take my shirt off.’’ Why am I telling you this? Because Soderbergh’s latest film, Magic Mike (R16), stars McConaughey as a stripper.

A comedy-drama, Magic Mike stars Channing Tatum as Mike, a dreamer who makes most of his money getting his gears off on stage at a club in Tampa, Florida, run by McConaughey’s vainglorious Dallas.


Mike is a charming guy who loves to party and has a way with the ladies. One day on a construction crew he meets a young bloke named Adam who knows nothing about building and lasts only one day on the job.

Later, that night, they run into each other in town and, before you know it, Adam is an apprentice stripper.
The pair party like it’s 1999 but their bromance gets complicated by Adam’s older sister Brooke, played by newcomer Cody Horn, who sees Mike as a bad influence.

Magic Mike boasts a sharp and often humorous screenplay based largely on Tatum’s own experiences as a stripper in Florida aged 19. It features, for the most part, nicely judged naturalistic performances and smooth direction. The film is also a reminder that Tatum, the star of Step Up, is one hell of a dancer.

And while I can appreciate why Magic Mike has become a sleeper hit in the States, I can’t honestly say I enjoyed it that much. There is something aloof and detached about it that stopped me really connecting with any of the characters.

And while the audience of ladies that I saw it with were clearly impressed by the sight of Tatum’s naked bum, the only things that made lasting impressions with me were Horn’s enjoyably understated performance and McConaughey’s wildly intense one.