Male stripping aside (which isn’t necessarily the crux of the film), “Magic Mike” is one of Steven Soderbergh’s finest works to date. His usually stark cinematography is sometimes lost on audiences, but here it is used to overwhelming effect. In conjunction with the high-energy and bright colors of the club scenes, the desolate photography and desperate onscreen personalities combine to make an incomparably dark but hopeful character study.

Rating: ★★★★ 1/2 out of ★★★★★ (Excellent)

The film is a dud in the most basic sense of the word. Some plot points are unexplained and others are hammered home for no reason. The tone often shifts from cutesy to pitch black to plain old gloomy all in the same scene, giving the audience whiplash. This is especially unfair since we’re never given a good reason to care in the first place.

Rating: ★★ out of ★★★★★ (Not So Good)

-J. Olson

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