The new, improved Mr. McConaughey does not exactly come out of nowhere. He showed a knack for macabre material in Bill Paxton’s psychological drama “Frailty” (2001), which Mr. Friedkin said convinced him that this actor was right for “Killer Joe.” And Mr. McConaughey’s first significant role — as a skirt-chasing slacker in “Dazed and Confused” — remains the best encapsulation of everything distinctive about him: his lothario charm and showboat flair, the lazy drawl and sneaky dead-on timing, the sly capacity for both self-infatuation and self-parody.
Most of those qualities are on view in “Magic Mike,” in which Mr. McConaughey plays the utterly absurd Dallas with an impressively straight face. “He’s this poet-capitalist-warlord-messiah of the male revue world,” Mr. McConaughey said. “None of that’s funny until you say ‘of the male revue world.’ ” For a scene at a gym he encouraged the wardrobe department to pile on the indignities: he ended up in a cutoff T-shirt, skintight shorts and ballet shoes, a look he described as “Baryshnikov meets Richard Simmons.”
Mr. McConaughey said that it had already been suggested to him that playing a stripper is something of a joke at his own expense, given his reputation for baring his chest on screen and off. “I’m not a daily reader of Page, whatever, Six,” he said. “Hell, I didn’t know until two years after it started that there was a phenomenon about me being shirtless.” But it was his suggestion that Dallas play bongos in one of the “Magic Mike” routines, an apparent nod to his arrest for marijuana possession in 1999, when police barged in on him thumping bongos in the nude.
(Source: The New York Times)