Steven Soderbergh's last team-up with Channing Tatum was Haywire, from earlier this year. It featured real-life MMA star Gina Carano, and while her acting was suspect, the action was not, and the movie was very good. If you haven't seen it, check it out - it will be available to rent soon.
While I am the target audience for this movie, and I was lucky enough to see it in a theater that was completely full of screaming women (made it so much fun!), it actually will appeal to a much wider audience. There is a storyline, and it is predictible, but well done.
Tatum's character is a hustler - working three jobs to save up enough money to get his custom-made furniture business up and running. He meets a youngster on his construction job who is in need of money and guidance. Mike takes him to the strip club, and due to one of the other dancers passing out - throws the kid on stage, where he quickly becomes hooked on the lifestyle. Mike looks to begin a romance with the kid's older sister, who brings some reality into his life and makes him question his life choices. Things start off good, then they get great - then there's some serious drama and things get terrible, then they get okay again by the end, and everyone learns a little something. Predictable - but okay.
- I have always disliked Matthew McConaughey, and while he's really good as sleezy club owner Dalls, I would have prefered Idris Elba in that role...but then again, I'd prefer him in almost anything. There is an amusing sequence in which McConaughey does play the bongos.
- Channing Tatum is very good in this. Just like he was in Haywire, and 21 Jump Street, and the Vow. Welcome to the year of the Tatum. I should at some point, stop being surprised that he's a decent actor. He's very natural and believable on screen, and the dancing? Amazing. He choreographed most of the numbers with some help from Luke Broadlick, who also worked on the StepUp films.
- Olivia Munn shows up and is actually pretty good in this - she's most well known for her work on G4, and she does steal a couple of scenes in this. Oh - and if you're a dude, she's topless within the first 4 minutes, so there's that.
- Alex Pettyfer plays the young wide-eyed kid, in a bit of a departure from what we've seen him do in I Am Number 4, Beastly, and In Time. I liked him the best in In Time, where he got to speak with his own british accent and be a little villiany - which I think he might be better at. His american accent is not great and slips a couple of times, but he looks good during the dance numbers.
- Speaking of looking good during the dance numbers, the rest of the male revue is Joe Magnaniello (True Blood, Spider Man), Matt Bomer (White Collar), Alex Rodriguez (CSI Miami), and Kevin "Big Sexy" Nash (what? second movie in a month he's popped up in). I know Nash's knees are shot from the years of wrestling, but it is very obvious that he is not doing any of the dance sequences! Also - he's been gray for the last 10 years, are we supposed to buy that dye job? Aside from that, he was fun and natural in the part. Bomer is super pretty and a decent dancer, but Rodriguez suprised me the most on the dancing - he was pretty good! Joe Magnaniello plays "Big Dick Ritchie" and is really good looking and a decent dancer. All the guys were underdeveloped as characters, but they weren't really important, so I suppose that's okay.
- Stand-up comedian Gabriel Iglesias pops up as the DJ/promoter for the club and is actually pretty good. His specials are streaming on Netflix, and if you haven't seen his stand-up, check it out, he's hilarious!
- Cody Horn plays the love interest and is passable. She's the daughter of WB CEO Alan Horn, so whether or not she got into the business on merit is debatable, but she's believable as Pettyfer's older sister, who is into Mike, but wants him to be realistic about himself with his decisions and lifestyle choices.
- Riley Keough has maybe two scenes and is forgettable - I'm only mentioning her because she's Elvis's granddaughter.
All in all - see it, you'll be pleasantly surprised!
7 out of 10: lost points for all the tits - I'm tired of seeing tits! It's a movie about male strippers! Why were there more tits than dicks in it? Gained points for the dance sequences - yay! Lost points for the odd choice of camera angles during the hard partying - weird. Gained points for Manganiello, ahem, 'prepping' to go onstage - hilarious!
Bonus Video 1: Channing in Step Up - he's quite a dancer - also - married his costar from that movie.
Step Up 2: