Movie Reviews

Published on July 1st, 2015 | by Genevieve Mc Bride


Magic Mike XXL

When we last saw Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) he was trading in his g-string and the adulation of grown women with lots of dollar bills to spare, for a custom furniture business of his own and a serious relationship with a girl named Brooke. He said goodbye to his band of magical, muscular men (and by magical, we mean in the art of making clothes disappear) and headed off into a better future.

Or so he thought.

Three years later, we find Mike has found a little success, his company has grown by one employee. The empty apartment with no sign of a roommate suggests his future no longer includes Brooke. A phone call from Tarzan (Kevin Nash) has Mike donning a suit to attend a “wake”. Cue the reunion with his old gang that is far from somber, and more of a ruse to see him. Apparently, his orphaned crew is set on one last hurrah before they follow in Mike’s footsteps and go after their own entrepreneurial dreams.

Does Mike want in on the swan song of stripteases at Myrtle Beach’s stripper convention? Of course not. He has a business to run, employees to pay, he postures. But considering this movie is a sequel entitled “Magic Mike XXL” you know he changes his mind. And, boy, how he changes his mind! With a little help from power tools and Genuwine’s “Pony”, natch.

Magic Mike XXL is a road trip of discovery for Mike, Tarzan, Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias) and Big Dick Richie (Joe Mangeniello). There were a few times I wondered where exactly this story was going, but as ensemble features go, the insightful peeks into the guys’ individual stories distracted from the meandering plot. Okay, why I was looking for a plot in a movie clearly made to titillate fans of sculpted male phsyiques, I don’t know. Sorry. Not sorry.

The road to Myrtle Beach is littered with conquests, old and new, and epiphanies fueled by pharmaceuticals inspire the Kings of Tampa to learn a few new tricks along the way. XXL actually achieves that rare feat of being better than the original. I know, that may not exactly be high praise, but it delivers more of what fans enjoyed in the original – the male entertainment.

XXL has the same awkward, but slightly improved banter between Mike and the females he encounters, but it also has new routines, a sexier emcee in Jada Pinkett-Smith (with all due respect to Matthew McConaughey) and it doesn’t require Kevin Nash to dance like a lost mannequin. There are some eyebrow-raising casting choices for a couple of new strippers. You may find yourself asking “Hey, is that who I think it is jumping all over that woman?” And “Okay…so he doesn’t actually strip. He just sings?” But don’t worry, that singer inspires Matt Bomer to do both. Very well. How did I not know Matt Bomer could sing?

The finale is one the screener audience, the majority of which were female, of course, did not want to end. I admit I could’ve stayed in my seat for more Channing Tatum and professional dancer, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, who could make his own Magic Malik movie. As my girlfriends and I left the theater, one commented that her face hurt from smiling the whole time. At the risk of sounding extremely shallow, we all agreed that the only way the movie could have been better is if it was shown on the IMAX screen in 3D. Maybe in Dbox seats.

Probably not a movie women will want to take their significant others to, but their girlfriends for a ladies night out? Hell to the yeah.

For story, acting and plot? Ummm 2 out of 5
For sheer, eye-candy entertainment? 4 stars.

By Barnetty Kushner

Magic Mike XXL brings back the ‘Kings of Tampa’ for one last hurrah, a road trip to the male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, Virginia. To recap the first installment, directed by Steven Soderbergh, Magic Mike tells the story of Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) who spends his days working at a construction site and his evening as a male entertainer. Typical American dream story that is based upon the ideals of modern capitalism, but with men taking their clothes off for money. Mike’s dream goes beyond the life of a stripper, his plan was to save up enough money to open up his own furniture designing business. Which in the end he succeeds and also manages to find love.

In the second installment, Magic Mike XXL takes place three years later, broken hearted Mike still running his furniture design business reconnects with his old stripper crew, Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash). Sorely missed are Dallas (Matt McConaughey) and The Kid (Alex Pettyfer) who decided to ditch the crew and head off to Europe. Unable to resist the offer, Mike and the rest of the crew embark on an adventure in a taco truck turned frozen yogurt truck to the convention. Along the way, a serious of events occur, both good and bad, which lead the fellas to realize the only way they can make big money at the convention is to bid adieu to stereotypical (oh so corny) routines that males strippers are known for (ie fireman, caveman, raining men). Stepping outside of their comfort zone and creating routines that will impress the ladies.

It’s hard to not compare XXL with its predecessor. It does lack the cool, calm, intelligence that comes with Soderbergh’s movies. However, Gregory Jacobs does an impressive job at making this movie entertaining not only for women, but men will enjoy it as well. It has more of an Entourage bromance vibe this time. The addition of Jada Pinkett Smith and Elizabeth Banks broke up the monotony of male testosterone nicely. I found the female lead character played by Amanda Heard was much more interesting and mysterious than the love interest role played by Cody Horn from the first movie which lacked personality. All in all, the film provided loads of entertainment and great laugh out loud moments. Don’t expect to see it nominated for any awards though. The dance sequences do not disappoint! Love the break dancing! And, yes Channing Tatum dancing to ‘Pony’ is present.

3.5 out of 5 stars

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