Magic Mike XXL Review

So I watched Magic Mike XXL…

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I wasn’t a fan of the first Magic Mike movie but not for the reasons you might think. I actually thought there wasn’t enough stripping and the stripping that was present wasn’t fun or sexy enough. It was a pretty serious movie and bit off a lot more than it could chew in terms of story and asked far too much from its cast. So I went into this movie hoping that they had ditched the overly-morose tone and had gone with something more lighthearted and scantily-clad.

Okay, basic plot: Channing Tatum and his four closest gym buddies take off their clothes for money. That’s literally it.

I’m going to start with what I didn’t like about this movie and its the same mistakes that were made in the first. When the guys aren’t stripping, this movie takes itself way too seriously. I know that male strippers are obviously normal human beings who face their own dilemmas and trials and tribulations but, holy hell, do we have to be so dark about it? Every one of them is this brooding figure who’s unhappy with the superficial satisfaction that their job provides and is looking for something deeper. There’s nothing wrong with that but if you’re going to tackle issues as serious as these in a movie of this kind you need to A) do it with more levity or B) hire better actors to convey these emotions.

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The cast of this movie are physical specimens. Their bodies look like they come straight out of the wet dreams of depressed housewives reading 50 Shades. In terms of their physique, I can’t fault them; the problem comes in when they start talking and try to convince me that they’re actual human beings. Oh my goodness, the acting in this movie actually made me angry. It’s infuriating how bad it is. Every line falls flat, every facial expression is forced and out of place – these guys are lucky they’re hot. Added to this, the writing and direction in this movie are horrible. Once again any scene that doesn’t contain stripping feels like it was constructed by a blind chimpanzee with a railroad spike sticking out his brain. These parts in the movie are insufferable.

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But this movie, when it actually gets down to what it’s supposed to be about i.e. stripping, is a lot of fun. The stripping in this movie isn’t merely men taking off their clothes, there’s a great deal of choreography and skill in some of the routines. It also becomes very fun and lighthearted in these moments. My favourite part of this movie is when Joe Manganiello’s character ‘Big Dick’ Richie has to seduce a cashier at a gas station and he comes up with this impromptu strip tease routine. It was funny and over-the-top and really encapsulated the spirit, the true spirit of the movie. When the actors let their hair (and pants) down and get to dancing and entertaining women, it’s really fun. This movie is obviously tailored for women but there is enjoyment for guys too. This is a dance movie and reminded me a lot of You Got Served. One, the acting in both is horrible and two, there’s some great dance performances on show.

I thought very little of the acting in this movie but Jada Pinkett Smith put in some solid word for me. She plays a former employer of Mike and a kind of big player in the world of stripping (similar to what Matthew McConaughey was in the first movie) and she brings the same intensity and power to this role that she does to the role of Fish Mooney in Gotham.

Overall this movie is kind of like The Expendables – Full of fun at times but too often bogged down in an overly serious plot that doesn’t match the spirit of the story. In terms of acting and story and being a proper movie, this movie’s a 1/10 but the humour and fun of the stripping make it a 10/10 so overall, it’s worth a watch but not a trip to the cinema 4/10

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