Magic Mike XXL (Gregory Jacobs, 2015)
At the conclusion of the Magic Mike XXL premiere, a couple of sixty-something men were heard lamenting the film’s lack of script. Clearly they were not the target demographic, because who sees a Magic Mike film for the screenplay? In fact, dialogue almost seems unnecessary in a film like this as it is ALL about the visuals.
It probably goes without saying that the Magic Mike films are for women. In terms of storyline, they’re about male strippers. ‘Nuff said. Apparently there was meant to be some further depth to the first film (directed by Steven Soderbergh) but no one really noticed because they were too busy wiping the drool off their faces at the sight of Channing Tatum’s abs. Neither that film nor the current offering by Gregory Jacobs is particularly interesting outside of the stripping, but we all know what we came for. At least those of us who showed up willingly.
Despite the filler scenes being a bit of a bore (just get to the good stuff already!) Magic Mike XXL contains a sense of realness that was also seen in its predecessor. The verbal interactions between characters may seem badly written to some, but they also contain a truthfulness which isn’t often seen in film. Though Reid Carolin is credited as screenwriter, much of the dialogue doesn’t seem overly scripted – this may divide some viewers, but that’s assuming they care about the dialogue. Steven Soderbergh is no longer in the director’s chair, but he is on hand as the film’s cinematographer once again, giving a sense of visual continuity between the two films. And the bods have remained consistently hot.
Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer and Joe Manganiello are all glorious specimens of man (Kevin Nash, not so much), and in terms of individual preference, there should be something here for everyone (unless you like your men hairy because these men are waxed to within an inch of their lives). Alas, Matthew McConaughey does not make an appearance this time (his Oscar means he’s above this now) but Jada Pinkett Smith adds a bit of girl power as his replacement. Amber Heard is confusingly similar in appearance to Mike’s previous love interest (played by Cody Horn in the original) and serves little purpose other than to attempt to eat an entire red velvet cake while in the presence of Channing Tatum (surely every girl’s dream?)
One of the best things about this franchise is its emphasis on making women feel good about themselves. Though the line “did you bang her?” is uttered more than once, these bros have a healthy respect for the women around them and aim only to please. The extras in the strip scenes would have had an absolute ball being involved in this film, and its inclusion of women of all shapes and sizes was a good call.
Magic Mike XXL takes itself a little less seriously than the original and is all the better for it. Joe Manganiello milks the most laughs, and the film as a whole definitely isn’t short on them. When it gets to the scene we’ve all been waiting for, it’s certainly hot, but more than anything it’s hilarious. It won’t necessarily make viewers run to their local male strip joints – the two-dimensional offering is plenty, thank you (and free of any associated odours) – but it may certainly make their night.
This review was first published at Film Blerg