Genre: Comedy
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Cast: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith, Andie MacDowell, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias
Runtime: 1 hr 55 mins
Rating: M18 (Coarse Language and Sexual References)
Released By: Warner Bros
Official Website:

Opening Day: 7 July 2015

Synopsis: Picking up the story three years after Mike (Channing Tatum) bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, "Magic Mike XXL" finds the remaining Kings of Tampa likewise ready to throw in the towel. But they want to do it their way: burning down the house in one last blowout performance in Myrtle Beach, and with legendary headliner Magic Mike sharing the spotlight with them. On the road to their final show, with whistle stops in Jacksonville and Savannah to renew old acquaintances and make new friends, Mike and the guys learn some new moves and shake off the past in surprising ways.

Movie Review:

Steven Soderbergh is no longer director; his frequent colleague Gregory Jacobs has taken over, which probably explains why ‘Magic Mike XXL’ feels in many ways a reversal of its predecessor. Whereas the original was a surprisingly gritty drama that brought out the darker side of capitalism, hedonism and even exploitation, this sequel dispenses with the first film’s cautionary moralising in favour of dumb, shirtless fun. Yes, if the sight of sweaty male bods with perfectly-toned pecs doing endless pelvic thrusts isn’t your idea of entertainment, then you might as well look elsewhere.

Retaining the original’s loose, relaxed style, writer Carolyn Reid falls back on the excuse of one last hurrah to reunite the Kings of Tampa. Last we heard of Channing Tatum’s titular character, he had quit the stripping game to settle down and set up his own custom furniture business. Fast-forward three years, and Mike isn’t doing quite so well himself – the business isn’t exactly booming (he can’t afford insurance for his one other employee) and Brooke rejected his marriage proposal. So when he gets a call from his old buddies that the former club’s Machiavellian owner, Dallas, had died, Mike turns up dutifully at a Florida motel to pay his respects.

Alas, Matthew McConaughey is conspicuously missing from this sequel, but his absence does give the other lesser known performers more room for us to get to know them. Tito (Adam Rodriguez) wants to open an artisanal frozen-yogurt truck. Tarzan (Kevin Nash) plans to be an artist. Ken (Matt Bomer) is an aspiring actor who is now a Reiki healer given to meditation and sage-burning rituals. Big Dick Ritchie (Joe Manganiello) may not seem to have an ambition outside the stripping business, but he does deliver one of the movie’s most memorable scenes gyrating to Backstreet Boys’ ‘I Want It That Way’ to an impassive convenience store clerk.

Mike agrees to join the gang at a strippers’ convention in Myrtle Beach, which in essence turns out to be a rambling, loosey-goosey road trip. An accident along the way creates the barest of excuses for some A-list women to join the supporting cast. Jada Pinkett Smith is the owner of a strip club named Rome housed inside a converted Savannah mansion whose clients she addresses as “queens” – incidentally, Rome happens to be an old flame of Mike’s. Andie McDowell is a Southern divorcee who happens to be hosting a party for a few close friends when the boys stumble in. And last but not least, Elizabeth Banks pops up (briefly) as a diva at the convention the guys are headed for.

Not that any of it matters; indeed, the plotting is casual, if not indifferent, and only meant as filler between the obviously designed-to-please setpieces. This is pure female wish-fulfilment, meant to deliver exactly the sort of pleasure that seeing perfectly chiselled male bodies mounting, thrusting, bumping and grinding in a stimulated fashion is meant to. And on that level, this sequel truly lives up to its ‘XXL’ title, even rowdier and raunchier than its predecessor ever was. Nowhere is this more evident than its extended finale, which gives each of the characters their one or two minutes of take-it-off glory and culminates in a terrific mirror routine featuring Tatum and newcomer Stephen Boss. The original’s Alison Faulk returns to choreograph the  dances, and clearly she’s been given a lot more leeway to be more playful, suggestive and downright naughty.

As with the first movie, ‘Magic Mike XXL’ is ultimately held up by its actors/ performers. Tatum may be trying to a more serious actor these days with critically acclaimed works like ‘Foxcatcher’, but this is as good a reminder as any of how outstanding he was as a dancer in his early days, especially since he probably won’t return for a ‘Step Up’ sequel. There is a loving comradery between Tatum and his bros, which also counts for much of the campy appeal we see onscreen. Every single one is a game performer here, and do so in a self-consciously fun way that you’ll feel guilty for begrudging them to be anything more. Yes, the key word here is ‘fun’, definitely for females more so than for males we suppose, and if you’re looking for that kind of heat this summer, well you won’t be disappointed. 

Movie Rating:

(Pecs, abs and a lot of gyrating – that, for better or for worse, is the only kind of pleasure ‘Magic Mike XXL’ offers)

Review by Gabriel Chong


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