Actress Sarah Polley's 2006 directorial debut, Away From Her, was a bit of a shock: an unexpectedly tonic drift into adultery and Alzheimer's that somehow found a way to move us without resorting to the maudlin. What was exciting about that film was its voice — clear, confident and emotionally complex — and many wondered if it might be a fluke.
The distance between the movie sold by a trailer and the one you end up seeing is often as wide as that between the appetizing burger in the fast-food ad and the heat-lamped puck of sadness delivered to your tray. But in the case of Steven Soderbergh's latest, that expectation mismatch works in reverse: The advertising might make this look like a flimsy excuse to put a bunch of hunky guys onscreen in equally flimsy thongs, but Magic Mike turns out to be more complicated than its slick, vapid rom-com trailers would indicate.
From two who brought us those sensitive little human dramas, Star Trek and Transformers, comes a sensitive, decent, well-crafted little drama about frailty and forgiveness.
No, really: In his first outing as a director, writer-producer Alex Kurtzman has filled in a heavily worn premise with wit, heart and — along with Roberto Orci and Jody Lambert — a lively way with ordinary speech.