“Magic Mike” is showing up on lots of “Best of 2012” lists, and I just don’t get it. It’s a movie about a male stripper (Channing Tatum) who’s actually a nice guy and would rather be building custom furniture, but can’t get a loan from the bank because his credit score is too low. There’s just not that much to it. Maybe it’s the surprise factor – it looks like a sleaziest along the lines of “Piranha 3DD,” and it turns out to be not that bad. But come on, it’s not that good, either, and there’s plenty of sleaze to go around.
Alex Pettyfer co-stars as the youngster Tatum takes under his wing, and it’s an utterly charisma-less performance. Cody Horn is the protective older sister, and she’s fine in scenes where all she has to do is glower (which is most of them,) but flops in her big moment, faking it instead of acting it. Tatum and Horn both seem like well-adjusted, decent people; one wonders why they work so hard to keep Pettyfer from the path of self-destruction he so clearly and consistently chooses. There is nothing redeemable about his character, at least nothing present on the screen.
I feel the same way about “Magic Mike” that I felt about “Boogie Nights;” so many people told me it was good and worth watching, I overcame my squeamishness with the overtly sexual material and gave it a spin, only to find that there’s hardly more here than the sex.