Starring: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Gabriel Inglesias
Directed by: Gregory Jacobs
Release Date: July 1st, 2015
Rated R for nudity, strong language throughout, drug use, sexual content
2012’s Magic Mike was a surprise success. Directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Channing Tatum, it was praised by critics for being well written, brilliantly cast, and smartly directed. Films about strippers tend to be panned for the most part (see: I Know Who Killed Me, Showgirls, etc). Three years later, Mike makes a comeback. But does it match up to the previous film’s glory?
This time around, we find Mike Lane (Tatum) struggling with his furniture business after leaving his stripper career behind. While he has a number of clients, he only has one employee and no storefront. While on the job one day, he gets a call from one of his old stripper buddies telling him that Dallas, the owner of the club he used to strip at, is “gone.” He assumes that means “dead” and quickly goes to pay his respects. Turns out, Dallas isn’t dead, he’s just taken off, leaving his employees hanging. They recruit Mike to go on a road trip to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, where they can go out in a blaze of glory before they call it quits for good this time.
The plot is paper-thin at best, and I didn’t find it very compelling. Why would Mike just take off and leave his one employee (whose health insurance he cannot afford to pay)for guys he hasn’t seen in three years? What’s in it for him? Furthermore, besides Tatum and maybe Ken (Bomer) these men are barely attractive. Kevin Nash’s Tarzan looks like he’s stuck in the 80s with his long mullet. If they were women, people would comment on how old they are. Tatum himself is 35, Joe Manganiello (Big Dick Richie) is 38, Adam Rodriguez (Tito) is 40, and Kevin Nash is 55. No spring cockerels are they.
Another thing that irritates me about the Magic Mike films is their propensity to pair Mike with women who have terrible personalities. In the first film, his love interest was Brooke, played by Cody Horn. She was so standoffish and her delivery was so monotone that is was a wonder Mike fell in love with her. In XXL she is replaced by Amber Heard, who is supposed to be deep and artsy but just comes off as bitchy and unstable. He has no chemistry with either of these women, so why am I supposed to hope they are a couple by the end of this movie?
The film’s final sequence, with each of the guys getting a solo, was well-choreographed and fun to watch, even if it was a bit overlong. The ending is also ambiguous and unsatisfying. Will we see a Magic Mike 3? Are Mike and Zoe going to live happily ever after? I doubt either.
VERDICT: If you liked the first one, you’ll like this one. If not, just skip it.