14 July 2012 4:07 PM, PDT | The Guardian - Film News | See recent The Guardian - Film News news »

Male strippers flash the flesh in Florida but director Steven Soderbergh fails to get under their skin

We can be relaxed when Jane Fonda plays a confident, unrepentant prostitute in Klute, Dolly Parton a proud madam in The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas or Natalie Wood a celebrated striptease artist in Gypsy. But we feel more than a little uneasy when leading actors appear in male versions of these roles, and an essential part of Billy Wilder's Irma la Douce, Paul Schrader's American Gigolo and Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights is to make us warm to and understand Jack Lemmon, Richard Gere and Mark Wahlberg as respectively a pimp, a gigolo and a porn star.

This is the task that Steven Soderbergh has taken on in Magic Mike. His debut film, the provocatively titled but essentially chaste sex, lies and videotape, set in prosperous, middle-class Louisiana, won »

- Philip French

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