Magic Mike XXL
Starring Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Matt Boomer, Gabriel Iglesias, Adam Rodriguez, Andie McDowell, Jada Pinkett, Elizabeth Banks
What happens when you deduct the few elements that made the previous film watchable? The sequel to the raunchy male stripper film feels like excess fat trimmed from the original and organized into a barely tolerable movie. If Matthew McConaughey truly was the best aspect of the first, then all the substitutions here are second and third-rate attempts to feel the void he left behind. Previous director Soderbergh is still involved, but doing some of the laziest work, strictly as the cinematographer. The moment Tatum starts dancing by himself in a barn, it becomes clear XXL isn’t interested in continuing the narrative or character development of the original, only given the specific target audience, only more sexual anecdotes to whoop and holler at.
Dallas has abandoned the crew, and on a visit down to Tampa, they ring up Mike (Tatum), who is now a fledgling business owner, to see if he wants to join their east coast trek to Myrtle Beach for a stripper convention. Mike, Ken (Bomer), Big Dick Richie (Manganiello), Tito (Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) make a few stops along the way to revisit Mike’s past, which include Rome (Smith), who they need as their MC for the show. Mike, no longer with Brooke, meets Zoe (Heard) who he becomes quite smitten with, and he and the guys toss out all their old routines in favor of going out with a bang and a tsunami of dollar bills.
XXL feeds the audience trash instead of cinematic development, even the locations are toned down compared to the original.
Magic Mike XXL’s biggest problem is that it isn’t interesting. The guys sit around and talk about their lives (or what they did in the last movie) which slows the energy and force compared to the original, which at least seemed to have a dance sequence every few minutes to pump the momentum. There isn’t a sense of danger or suspense with XXL, these guys seem to have retired their life ambitious to this one big show in Myrtle Beach, never contemplating where they might end up after. 3 years later, Mike and the guys seem to have lost their edge in favor of more hardcore sexual gyrations on the dance floor and on stage.
When the guys have conversations in the food truck van, it feels more like dialogue from a Kardashian reality show, instead of a major motion picture; lots of words that say absolutely nothing. XXL feeds the audience trash instead of cinematic development, even the locations are toned down compared to the original (Good bye Miami, hello nasty Myrtle Beach). It becomes understood during a scene with Andie McDowell and other 50 something women, the only demographic this film is speaking to, unlike the previous which seemed to have something for everyone. His performance in Foxcatcher excluded, Tatum is not a great actor, his only talent lies beneath his shirt, as with most of this cast, and if you’re not into eye candy, this is a long dull and boring ride.
There are male calendars with more creativity and excitement than this brainless sequel.