“Do you have any idea how many women I meet on a daily basis? For free, I don’t gotta pay.. All we gotta do is ask them what they want and when they tell you, it’s a beautiful thing, man, we’re like healers or something..”
It’s been three years since Mike Lane’s (Channing Tatum) retirement from stripping, but the former dancer misses the excitement and feeling of being on stage. Most of all, though, he misses the best friends that he ever had, the crew known as the Kings of Tampa. Opportunity comes knocking when the guys look him up as they travel to Myrtle Beach, S.C., for a stripper convention. With the promise of outrageous fun, a reinvigorated Mike can’t resist the chance to join in and take it off again.
The quote above pretty much sums up Magic Mike XXL. The sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s stingy poignant film about young men dealing with life in post economic downfall Florida. Magic Mike XXL takes all the seriousness and drama out of of the original and provides a mouth watering man-feast of epic proportions. It’s a mild mellow adventure surrounding a group of playful men apprehensively throwing in the towel after one last ride. What Magic Mike XXL, at it’s core, is a goofy immature version of it’s predecessor that plays to one gender and one gender alone. The sequel is basically a movie for the women that thought the original was too dizzyingly profound, and not erotically inclined enough. The whole time the sequel is making up for the original’s heavy handedness and lightening the mood and subject matter with a quirky road trip motif playing the backdrop to several impossibly good looking men just looking to have some fun after being jilted by their former employer played by Matthew Mcconaughey. Pandering to the women who are just looking for a strip club atmosphere we get a watered down version of a an incredibly subversive and thought provoking film.
Magic Mike XXL realistically has no plot whatsoever. There is no defining moral, there is no general direction, but it’s more a series of happenings while on a road trip to a convention that we sincerely hope doesn’t actually exist in real life. This is an airy light detail-less film meant to just give women what they want, naked men dancing provocatively, even when the situation doesn’t call for it. This is like a step up movie except it has a few people, like Joe Manganiello and Kevin Nash who can’t dance in the slightest. A large chunk of the film is dedicated to the group figuring out what their new stripper characters will be since their former employer made them dance in outfits they didn’t really like all that much. That’s about as deep as it gets here. Mike (Tatum) goes around and has his “moments” with each of the guys to try and make amends after leaving them to start his own business, because it’s important that he apologize for leaving the stripper life to be.. Well.. An adult. The movie plays better as a goofy buddy comedy, but the feel and tone of the film is far off from that, instead we get the same cinematic style and strange dialogue that we had in the first film, but with no real plot to define its direction, making it all feel abnormal. The issue is, the audience this film is geared towards won’t be bothered by this since they are here just to how much of these guys they will be allowed to see. Magic Mike XXL took a solid character study and made it mindless malaise strictly meant to please women whose biggest gripe with the last film was, not enough naked men dancing.
The performances in Magic Mike XXL are a step down, in large part due to Macoughnohay and Pettyfer’s absence. The script was poorly constructed and gave a few moments of joyful levity, but at no point did it provide a meaningful moment between any of the characters. This film is the equivalent of the movie Road Trip, except the guys are strippers instead of college stoners. It’s fun, but it’s fun for people of a specific sexual orientation. This film will make even the most secure men blush. Channing Tatum reverts to his comedic timing and it works, but it’s difficult to say he’s anything more than a supporting character. Everything runs through Mike, but he doesn’t command the screen at any point leaving much to be desired after his surprisingly powerful and likable performance in the original. Joe Manganiello seemed to be the focus, as a man with little else to show for his life trying to keep his glory days going long after the doors on his stripping career close. He is funny and charming as he is in most of his roles but the script ,makes him a caricature and mostly just the punchline to a bad joke. Matt Bomer as the life sized Ken doll spiritualist, is probably the most interesting character of the bunch, but still he lacks the talent to transcend poor writing and comes off a bit strange even given the subject matter. the rest of the crew is glazed over and written off as moving scenery, just more man candy for the women to ogle. The newcomers provided some interesting moments. Dancer “Twitch” is definitely fun to watch on talent alone, but his character does and says very little aside from choreography. Donald Glover probably does the most with the least. He has a minor part and is surprising solid. The whole film is hokey unabashed immature fun with no substance behind it at all.
Magic Mike XXL is not going to surprise anyone with it’s provocative depth of story like the last one did. It’s not going to garner critical attention the same way it’s predecessor did. What it will do is make a lot of women very happy that they spent the price of admission. It’s that very sentiment that makes XXL a win. Through all the nonsense and goofiness, the singular message that stood out, was that all women deserve attention, and deserve to be made to feel like a queen every now and again. It’s about spreading the love. The characters are all stand ins and the plot is just a filler, but the underlying theme about the proper treatment of women, is surprisingly emotionally aware. The film is easy going while being aggressive at times. It’s a scrappy fun little movie that asks for the audience to cast aside their brains and to enjoy the carnal pleasures put before them. It lacks the originality and depth of the first, but what it loses in substance it more than makes up for in glamorous visually panache.If you want to make your lady happy then take her out for dinner, have a few drinks, suck up you pride and take her to see Magic Mike XXL. She’ll love you for it.
2.7/5 Do Better Bro