Release Date: July 1, 2015
Running Time: 115 minutes
Sorry, ladies of Tampa—and elsewhere—but Matthew McConaughey’s Dallas isn’t around to light your fire in Magic Mike XXL. Same goes for Alex Pettyfer’s The Kid. Not that The Kid is missed. He was the least interesting of the male strippers to get down and dirty onstage in Magic Mike. Dallas, though, is another matter. McConaughey stole every scene in Magic Mike with his Southern charm and tight leather chaps. His absent, while felt, works to Magic Mike XXL’s advantage. It forces Channing Tatum to step up and take command of this sequel—which he was not permitted to do in Magic Mike—as well as allow the supporting cast members to emerge from the shadows of the Xquisite Strip Club’s main attractions to show us what they can do with their rock-hard bodies. Yes, Magic Mike XXL’s proves there is more than meets the eye to Joe Manganiello’s Big Dick Ritchie, Matt Bomer’s Ken, Adam Rodríguez’s Tito, and Kevin Nash’s Tarzan. It’s the camaraderie that develops between Tatum’s Mike and the rest of the guys that makes Magic Mike XXL such an enjoyable ride. Unlike director Steven Soderbergh’s annoyingly angst-ridden Magic Mike, which got too caught up in the daily struggles male strippers apparently must fight, Magic Mike XXL is just out to have fun. Sure, there’s some talk about what the guys will do when they stop stripping, but otherwise Magic Mike XXL stays very much in the moment. This road trip from Tampa to Myrtle Beach for a male strippers convention is just bros bonding and bros entertaining the ladies. Director Gregory Jacobs and screenwriter Reid Carolin dispense with a story in favor of a series of encounters between five men dedicated to doing it all for the ladies and the ladies who adore being in their company both in and out of the club. And Magic Mike XXL never stops to make the women in the film and in the audience feel like “queens,” as Jada Pinkett Smith’s club owner Rome likes to call her clients. There isn’t a misogynistic moment to be found Magic Mike XXL. The women are always come across as more than their secret sexual fantasies, which is best exemplified when Mike et al. hang with Andie MacDowell’s unhappily married Savannah socialite and her friends. MacDowell and Smith—who emcees for the guys during their performance at the convention—make such indelible impressions in Magic Mike XXL that it’s hard to remember when both have been better. That’s not to say Magic Mike XXL is all talk. There are plenty of times when Tatum and his crew rip off their shirts and get down to the sweaty business at hand. And the action isn’t just confined to the stage. The biggest laughs in Magic Mike XXL come from Manganiello trying to get a smile from a bored convenience store clerk. At times, though, Magic Mike XXL’s woefully unlit. Heck, you don’t even even know the aspiring photographer Mike meets at night on a beach at the beginning of Magic Mike XXL is played by Amber Heard until Mike catches up with her in Savannah. But this is a minor quibble. Jacobs makes Magic Mike XXL pop in such a way that Magic Mike refused to do. Let’s not fool ourselves into thinking Jacobs—Soderbergh’s go-to assistant director—is a better director than his former boss. It’s just that Jacobs is willing to go with Magic Mike’s flow.
Aired: July 2, 2015
Web site: http://www.magicmikemovie.com/