Watched Jun 29, 2012
Michael Smith’s review:
This film took me by complete surprise! I went in thinking I was going to be dragged to something that was not made for me at all, but after the first 40 minutes the film evolved into something completely different: a top-drawer Soderbergh film. I felt bad for all the hormonal ladies that were obviously getting bored and frustrated with the film the longer it went on, b/c I was having the opposite reaction. Despite what the terrible trailers have indicated, this film was NOT a generic romantic comedy featuring male strippers. It was an artfully distilled riff on classical Hollywood backstage-musical tropes that happened to be set in a male strip club. It was Soderbergh’s version of Boogie Nights basically, although not quite as dark and dreary. It was a movie that featured real people NOT just concepts of people, and all of the performances were very naturalistic and surprisingly really good. I’ve never been one to think that much of Channing Tatum, but he definitely is a star after this film. Not only his admittedly impressive dance moves, but his natural charm and self-realization of the limitations of setting all his chips on his good looks when growing older means someone else will always come along that is hotter and younger. He was really superb in a way that I was not expecting, but most interestingly he developed a natural chemistry with the co-lead Alex Pettyfer (another actor of limited talent that Soderbergh absolutely brought out the best of in this film) that really became the heart of the film (especially when all the backstabbing began.) Most excitingly for me, though, is the absolute iconic performance from Matthew McConaughey. He OWNS his role and completely steals every scene he is in. This was such a hilarious satire of his personality and oft-photographed lack of clothing that I can’t imagine another actor that so perfectly fit his character than him. If he doesn’t get nominated for best supporting actor then I will be surprised (and a little disappointed.) For a film that I thought looked like a punchline to a bad joke, I was completely blown away and should just learn to trust in the Soderbergh. He clearly knows what he is doing and the reason he was so interested in making this seemingly random story into a film was because it was simply so much fun.