Magic Mike may have gotten a sequel, but it doesn’t have nearly as much magic as the first.
Magic Mike XXL sees ex-male stripper Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) rejoin his old strip group for one last big show at the Myrtle Beach Stripper Convention before the group must disband, following the departure of their benefactor Dallas. The plot pretty much allows the boys to be seen shirtless as much as possible, thrusting and making as many innuendos as possible. Other than that, there isn’t really much plot; it’s more of a tool (pardon the pun) to get to the stuff that people who go to see the movie want to see. Which is abs. And the occasional dick show. Which the film has plenty of, but just because it delivers in that sense, doesn’t make it a good film.
The first movie had the charm of a film that showed all aspects of the male entertainment industry, not just the glamour. However, the sequel reduces all of that to mere parties, stripping and nightlife, with no hint of the ‘stripper struggle’ story which succeeded in the original.
Channing Tatum leads the cast in a role that’s definitely not his best. He’s a bit awkward and uncomfortable in scenes where he’s not dancing or stripping, and his character has an undefinable relationship with Amber Heard-Depp’s Zoe, which was underdeveloped and contributed little (if any) character development. The film’s casting isn’t necessarily weak, but it’s clear that physicality trumped over acting chops. Jada Pinkett-Smith, however, was quite enjoyable in her role as Rome, and Donald Glover (of whom I am quite a fan) was a great add into the mix.
For all intents and purposes, the dancing and stripping in the movie is pretty impressive. Channing Tatum’s dancer past shines, and he seems comfortable in this aspect of the movie, but all the boys are entertaining, whether dancing in drag or thongs. A particularly enjoyable scene with Joe Manganiello in a service station might be mostly funny instead of hot, but there is an equal mix of the two, and if you’re not into strippers, at least scenes like this serve as comic relief.
I’ll make it simple: Magic Mike XXL is not a movie to see if you are looking for quality drama or comedy. But the people who will see the movie aren’t seeing it for that. Magic Mike XXL is great as a strip show movie, if that’s what you want, and people will see it because that IS what they want. But it doesn’t really excel in anything other than that, and with the original being so good, this was disappointing.
Here is a list of my favourite films and TV shows starring the Magic Mike XXL cast:
- 21 Jump Street – Channing Tatum
- Community – Donald Glover
- 22 Jump Street – Channing Tatum
- She’s The Man – Channing Tatum
- Dear John – Channing Tatum
So, basically, anything ELSE that Channing Tatum is in.