Sequel Magic Mike XXL offers more of the same for fans of the first film. The narrative is slight, but the film delivers dances galore…
Three years after he quit stripping, Mike’s furniture business is busy. When his old troop reconnects with him, Mike is persuaded to hit the road for one more trip down to South Carolina…
Gregory Jacobs takes over directing duty from Steven Soderbergh for this sequel to 2012’s Magic Mike. This time, the format is a road trip, and the reason is a final hurrah for Mike and his fellow stripper veterans. The failing of the first film is that it did not get the tone right. Magic Mike flitted between tongue-in-cheek comedy and serious romance, not settling easy in either category. To some extent, Magic Mike XXL also has problems with tone. Jacobs’ film attempts to blend campy routines with more contemplative conversation. The serious chatter does feel a bit hollow, but it does not drag the tone down too significantly.
In addition to the flimsiest of narratives, another issue with Magic Mike XXL is the pacing. The road trip format is plodding, with a lack of real direction. The film could easily have been trimmed down by fifteen minutes, with no impact on the narrative. It is a shame that the film did not concentrate on comedy rather than the reflections of the protagonist. Magic Mike XXL works best when it is trying to make viewers laugh.
Magic Mike XXL manages he feat of appearing much raunchier than its predecessor despite exhibiting less nudity. The routines vary for silly to sizzling, with plenty of unusual situations giving a flimsy excuse for gyrating. Those expecting copious amounts of male nudity might be disappointed at having to wait, although the routines should make up for it.
Channing Tatum delivers the dancing well, although there is not much to his character. Matt Bomer and others are hindered by poor dialogue at times. Actresses in small roles seem to be having more fun, with Andie MacDowell and Jada Pinkett Smith hamming it up delightfully as strong female characters.
Ultimately, Magic Mike XXL is an excuse to watch muscular men strip and dance. Fans of the original will no doubt lap it up.