Magic Mike (the first film) is something I was kind of curious about because it was directed by indie auteur film maker Steve Soderberg after he befriended Channing Tatum and learned he’d been a male stripper. So he made him a movie and that movie was okish. It was kind of about the character’s hopes and dreams, his romance, and some random crime storylines along with skeevy strip dancing and some behind-the-scenes of a strip club stuff.
Magic Mike XXL is none of that. This sequel is just a weird combination of boring road movie and excuses to have even more male stripping. Noticeably more. As in, long stretches of the movie more… longer than the original film. And no particular interest in any dramatic story arcs or behind-the-scenes insights or even aspirations that amount to anything.
Hey – that’s the target demo of the movie… people who want to whoop and holler at hot dudes dancing and stripping. I am not in that demo so what the hell was I expecting? Well, I dunno… I was curious only because this is the sequel to a movie that is no longer by Soderberg (though he was involved as editor) and I wanted to see where it would go as pure movie-making sequel curiosity.
But, oh lord, it’s so long and the road trips scenes are SO boring. They are on a road trip from Miami to Myrtle Beach for a stripper convention (which must be a thing, I guess). Mike chucks out all the character growth and story from the first film and just decides on one last road trip stripping tour. The guys talk, and they talk, and they talk and very little is fun, funny, or interesting.
And then they go to various strip clubs and weird southern plantations retrofitted as an open-walled, multi-room strip club. And these routines do (as noted) go on for a long time and I imagine the movie theater could get pretty crazy with the right demographic in the audience. Me? There were a handful of people and silence so maybe I missed out on some of the vibe.
Some of the dance routines were kind of good and the music tracks picked are generally engaging and that’s about all the praise I can give it. Best was a mash-up of Bruno Mars’ song Mary You (which is sweet and innocent) with Nine Inch Nails’ Closer (which is not). It involved a tuxedos and a sex swing.
Oh, and credit due to geek humor callouts:
Jada Pinket-Smith plays an emcee for the dancers and there’s one brief shot of a male stripper dressed as Neo.
Joe Mangeniello is one of the male strippers and he also played the werewolf Alcide in True Blood (where he vied with a vampire for the attentions of a girl). One of the routines another team of strippers (!) does is based on Twilight and he is not happy about that vampire shit. Har.
So, yeah, you get the humor where you can find it. This is a bad movie by my estimation. Boring when it’s not about stripping and boring when it is (your mileage may vary, admittedly). I’d recommend skipping it but I think you already know if you’re going to go see it or secretly catch it on Netflix.