Magic Mike XXL is fun when it remembers what it’s supposed to do, but its dull and repetitive script wastes the magic of its predecessor and consequently its potential.
Picking up the story three years after Mike 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 blow-out 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.
Magic Mike XXL delivers when it counts.
There’s blood pressure raising dance moves and ragtag entertainment from a group of soon to be has beens. This time around other characters are given screen time to shine.
The cast manages to inject some individuality into their roles even though the script only allows them to explore their characters in the surface. Joe Manganiello is a lot of fun here with an expanded role as Big Dick Richie who delivers the best line – spruce up the tree if you expect to trim the hedges.
The new additions offset the white over-muscled crew. Donald Glover is the scrawny crooner that offers a sweeter approach through old school serenades. Jada Pinkett Smith is the sultry emcee that flips the gender dynamics by reminding the customers that they are the queens.
The blocking used in this movie is worth mentioning. It creates sexual tension between characters without any of them getting naked.
The group of bulked up goofballs are amusing to watch as they hang around. But this meandering road trip derails what could have been a better narrative.
The story hops around and presents its male entertainers as on-the-road therapists. Guys, we all know why there is a sequel, there is no need to come up with an excuse. There’s also a tacked on love interest that doesn’t click.
The film shines when it allows its characters to get creative but too much time is spent on inane conversations and whistle stops. The most interesting part of Magic Mike XXL is that like sex, stripping is a two-way street. When a bunch of dudes finally figure out their niche and create an act that they’re into, the performance is more satisfying for them and the audience. Yes ladies, there’s an awesome treat towards the end.
Overall the film is less compelling with a barely there plot. The original didn’t hesitate to dive in (remember that dick pump?) and added a story to what is obviously a Hollywoodized sausage party. The sequel replaces this with a shallow bromance.
Still, there’s a lot of rock hard abs to ogle at, sexual innuendos to make you giggle, and dance moves to enjoy.
My Rating: 6/10