"What he's doing is low-key and very natural," Debruge says. "In some ways, it appears so effortless that there's this sense that anyone could do it. And I think it's really a mistake to dismiss it as being that simplistic."
Debruge adds that Tatum's performance in "Magic Mike" is the kind where "critics can once again sharpen their knives when looking for the chance to break down his performance, but I think it's a little bit more complicated, what he's doing," he says. "I don't think he's a great thespian, the kind of person who's shown that he can deliver complexity, but there is a subtlety, a casualness that feels familiar and that feels like you can relate to the characters that he plays, that's not accidental and is absolutely part of the performance."
Thus far, though, critics seem to have fallen for Tatum's particular brand of nonchalant charm in "Magic Mike." Observers are curious to see who turns out for the film, as well as how well it will perform.
Pomerantz, for one, predicts that even if "Magic Mike" is a flop, it won't hurt Tatum's trajectory.
"There's something about him that's working right now, and Hollywood is rooting for him, [and] I think the audience is rooting for him," she says. And if this movie is a hit, she adds, "it takes all these suspicions that Hollywood has about him as a leading man and shoots them through the roof. He is the guy."