Seasoned male stripper Mike (Channing Tatum) has ambitions out of the stripping industry, but can’t leave until he makes enough money to pursue his true passion. In the mean time he sticks to making easy money hoping to achieve dual equity of the stripping business he works for. During one of his construction jobs he meets a young kid, Adam (Alex Pettyfer), who he takes under his wing and introduces him to the world of male stripping. As Adam gets sucked into the glamorized lifestyle he has grown accustomed to, he starts to wonder where his life is really going.
One of the more surprising films of 2012 for me, I expected it to be super raunchy and solely marketed at women, but there’s more to it than a few ripped guys taking their clothes off and making suggestive movements with their hips. The plot is engaging, keeping your eyes fixated on the film. It kind of reminded me of a less messed up version of Boogie Nights, minus the explosive ending. Which is what this film could have offered, there were parts of the story which could have been expanded and explored to make for a thrilling ending, but this film was never meant to go in that direction. It chose substance over thrills. The stars of the film were the main characters and male stripping. The way this film depicts the lifestyle of male strippers makes it seem glamorous and inviting. Making women feel like they wouldn’t mind having such an experience and men envying the characters lifestyle. This is what kept me engaged to the film and the characters. You understand why they are there.
The stripping choreography is smartly done because it finds the right balance between erotic and tolerable so that both male and women can watch it without one being uncomfortable or disappointed. It’s sexy enough for the women to enjoy and tolerable enough for the men. But it’s still enough to make us feel bad about ourselves. The music to go with the stage performances is pretty good, as well as the overall soundtrack for the film. Definitely wouldn’t have captured that rock star tone of the characters without it.
There are two different colour tones seen throughout this film which convey a different atmosphere. There’s a yellowish tone which is seen when the characters are living in the real world, out of their stripping lifestyle. It brings the film back to earth along with the characters, illustrating the reality of strife and labour. Then there’s a more colourful clear tone, which is seen during the stripping segments, making the industry look glamorous, appealing and addictive. It emphasises the reason the characters are there and why it’s hard to get out.
The performances were solid. Channing Tatum is finally looking natural in these more serious parts, I always got the impression he wasn’t made for these roles, but he proves me wrong here. I’ve seen a few of Alex Pettyfer’s movies, and never really saw anything great from him, but this time round he probably makes his best performance, there’s some character development which he explores really well. As always Matthew McConaughey is slick, suave and as the girls would say, sexy, bringing back the “alright, alright, alright” craze. He’s been involved in a lot of great films recently, good to see him making some good choices. On the least impressive side, I had a slight problem with Cody Horn. She seemed really natural and genuine at first, then as the film progressed her face never seemed to change expression, it just seemed emotionless. Then during the more intense scenes I just didn’t feel it was real. For example a scene where she shouts at Channing Tatum’s character, it was good at first, then she went a bit over the top with it and it came off as awkward. I saw her in End of Watch and she was a proper bad ass in it, so there’s no doubt she’s talented.
Definitely worth seeing if your in the demographic that likes to see half naked men dancing in an erotic manner. If your not into that, then it’s still worth seeing for a worthy plot, performances and music, definitely one of the better films of 2012.