First and foremost I would like to go on the record and say… I like the first “Magic Mike.” I thought it was a good movie with a lot more than abs and thrusting pelvises to offer. There was a genuine and believable love story at the heart of it to tie all the gyrating and abs (yes abs can’t be mentioned enough in this review). Sadly “Magic Mike XXL” doesn’t have that same center. What it does have is a “Road Trip” meets “Showgirls” vibe that works for the movie and keeps audiences engaged mostly throughout… that is IF you’re a male. If you are a female… throw out everything I just said and trust that you will leave the theater fulfilled and possibly in need of a cold shower… or a hot body… or both. Being the sole male in the theater you notice a few things like…. Why is everyone in here taking so many bathroom breaks and then the next song comes on and a light bulb goes off. Ohhhhhh…. I get it.
While that was an interesting experience, the movie itself was also very entertaining. Channing Tatum returns as Mike and is every bit as charming as he was in the previous film. Without giving too much away, he is living his dream, building and restoring custom furniture. But when he gets a call that a fellow stripper is town he rushes to be with his brethren. Once reunited they embark on a coastal trip deemed “the last ride.”
So is the ride worth it?
Cinematics (Plot, Acting, Cinematography, etc.) – 4
Taking over as director for Steven Soderbergh is Gregory Jacobs of the “Oceans 11” (and 12 and 13) series fame. He does an excellent job maintaining the same tone and feel as the first “Magic Mike. So much so that I had to do a double take to see that Soderbergh didn’t direct this one as well. He didn’t, but he did serve as producer, Director of Photography, and editor, so it’s no wonder the two films are very similar in tone. The film is shot pretty well but especially shines during the dance sequences. Many are single angle one take shots (If I remember correctly, I did look away for bits and pieces as there was just to many male body parts flinging about at certain points.) The movie was definitely executed well from a visual standpoint. You can see all the bodies quite clearly.
Entertainment Value – Male 2 | Female 5
It may seems sexist to split a category into male and female point values but if any movie deserves that treatment this one does. “Magic Mike XXL” is fun and has enough going on to keep you engaged but as a male I found myself wondering what’s the point of all this. My female movie goers had no such qualms. The ones I spoke with enjoyed every moment of the film and felt they were all mostly necessary. The dance scenes were pretty amazing. Just a side note, if you do not frequent the gym be prepared to feel inadequate. Hell, I am a pretty regular gym goer and felt like a scrawny middle schooler compared to the Kings of Tampa. The ease with which they moved and flipped the women in this film was impressive if not intimidating. All in all I thought the there could have been a stronger conflict in the film as there was none but I still enjoyed “Magic Mike XXL.”
The actors all really shine which does make “Magic Mike XXL” a joy to watch despite not being heavy on plot and conflict. Channing Tatum is charming and cool as ever. Joe Manganiello is entertaining and engaging. And I personally think Jada Pinkett steals the show and holds it all together with her on screen presence.
Rewatchability – By Myself – 2 | With Guy Friends – 0 | With a Woman – 5
Take a woman you are interested in to see this film. Just do it! Don’t second guess don’t them… Just Shia Lebouf the thing and JUST DO IT! This movie hits on a lot of levels. I witnessed the entire audience leave in a trans like state. Mesmerized by the choreography, or the physiques, or music, woman after woman left the theater with a smile on their face. The guys, (actually just me, the other dude walked out about a ¼ of the way in and never looked back) who left the theater weren’t as smitten. I did like some of the moves in the film and may aim to incorporate some of them in my personal life… provided my insurance is up to date. Some of these dances should have required a safety net or harness.
(My Re-watch –ability chart)
- 0=Pretend I never saw it and have no desire to
- 1=Never watching again
- 2=Would probably sit through if it popped up on HBO or FX
- 3=Would DVR it and watch again or recommend to watch with a friend
- 4=wouldn’t mind killing time to see it in the theater again. In fact I would like to do that
- 5=I am going to see this in the theater again, maybe twice more as well as stop what I am doing and watch every time it is on TV.)
- Entertainment Value
All in all I thought Magic Mike XXL was what you might expect and definitely what the female persuasion wanted. For guys it may inspire in the bedroom but probably not much else. The story is pretty basic but it does have some fun along the way. The actors are great and you can tell they had fun making this. If you are a woman do ask questions and just go see it. Guys well… find a woman and go see it with them.