The 2012 stripper dramedy “Magic Mike” was tailor-made for women and gay or bisexual men, and that’s great: more blockbusters should be made without straight dudes in mind. But that same, exhaustively targeted demographic needn’t try to act above it. In fact, some of us who identify on the other side of the sexual spectrum have seen it multiple times. With the sequel “Magic Mike XXL” out Wednesday, we look at reasons everyone can love the first one, and not just because of the plethora of gyrating studs (though those too).
It’s really well-made
“Magic Mike” delivers the goods, said goods being junk thrusted towards the lens, plus Channing Tatum buttage in minute two. But it wasn’t helmed by some exploitation hack; it was helmed by a guy who was nominated for two Best Director Oscars the same year. (He won for “Traffic,” over “Erin Brockovich.”) Steven Soderbergh is retired from movies now, allegedly, maybe, but in his last years (this was his penultimate film) he loved making experimental twists on genre fare. “Magic Mike” plays things more safe than the action film “Haywire,” but it still has that detached, almost clinical tone that helps downplay the script’s (very occasional) soapier, hoarier tendencies. He loves to have his actors riff in long takes; scenes between Tatum’s Mike Lane and love interest Cody Horn groove on their particularly silly chemistry. And because Soderbergh photographed it too (as he did “XXL,” which he did not direct) it looks great, and not only when ripped alpha gods are parading about in only neckties.