17. Magic Mike
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Channing Tatum, Alex Pettyfer, Matthew McConaughey, Cody Horn, Olivia Munn, Adam Rodriguez, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Wendi McLendon-Covey, Riley Keough
We feel bad for those silly dudes who begrudgingly stayed at home when their girlfriends flocked to the local cinema to watch Channing Tatum and company strip down in Steven Soderbergh's Magic Mike. Little did they know that the film their girls were salivating over is actually one of the summer's most pleasant surprises, handled by acclaimed director Soderbergh (Traffic, Ocean's Eleven, Che) with an acute sense of humor and a non-intrusive dedication to character development.
In a triumphantly likeable and charismatic performance, Tatum, who infamously spearheaded Magic Mike based on his own pre-Hollywood experiences as an exotic dancer, owns the stage, so to speak, as a hot-shot performer falling out of love with his sleazy profession after taking an aimless guy (Alex Pettyfer) under his oiled-up wing. Fully aware of the unavoidable goofiness of seeing guys gyrate before groups of horny chicks, Soderbergh, Tatum, and their cohorts wisely play the dancing sequences more for laughs than seduction, resulting in a crowd-pleasing flick that's surprisingly entertaining whenever the guy candy gets served up.
As for co-star Matthew McConaughey, who steals the film's limelight as an untrustworthy and seasoned strip club owner, the year's biggest Comeback Kid upgrades an otherwise guilty pleasure into a movie that deserves some awards season attention. The Best Supporting Actor category would be, excuse the pun, naked without him.