Magic Mike XXL (2015) Movie Review
I for one, didn’t think Magic Mike (based on star Channing Tatum’s actual job as an ornithologist) needed a sequel. The 2012 box-office husband bulge ended perfectly for what it was, with Mike quitting dancing, going off to pursue his dream of making furniture (you knew he’d always end up working with wood) and ending up with his grating shrew of a girlfriend (Cody Horn, saying every single line the same way), as happy as a movie like Magic Mike could be.
When they announced a sequel was being made, I thought to myself, “Where could they possibly go?” and starting building a magic-wand-that-operates-on-batteries stand outside my local theater. I called it Daddy Issues.
Upon seeing Magic Mike XXL, I still think a sequel was superfluous, as it’s a largely plot-less, sometimes inert road trip movie whose only true motivation for getting made was the original’s 765 trillion dollars gross off a tight, oily 7 million dollar budget.
That’s not to say XXL is a bad movie, just an unnecessary one. You say you want to see a bunch of guys grind their goodies all over your lonely island and going to a movie is less expensive than going to an actual strip club. You’d do better to re-watch your Blu of the original. You might want to clean it first or else it’s going to skip when your favorite parts come on.
The movie’s original writer Reid Carolin returns with what I assume are rejected notes from the first draft of the original and now form the basis for the sequel.
Gregory Jacobs takes over for Steven Soderbergh as director and it has second-(g)-string written all over it.
The plot, I guess…
It’s been 3 years since Mike (Channing Tatum, on a character based on his previous career as a time traveling acupuncturist) left stripping to his true love and his dream of building furniture. He still has one of them, as his girlfriend left him. His furniture business (called “Mike’s Hard Furniture”) is barely staying afloat as he can’t even pay his sole employee decent health care.
He gets a call that his former boss Dallas (Matthew McConaughey, not re-upping because they wouldn’t give him more money after winning an Oscar) is dead.
Mike goes to the wake, but it’s not a wake and it’s just an excuse to see his other male stripper friends. Those kidders, now I’m going to call up random people to tell them Matthew McConaughey is dead.
Since you don’t really remember anyone else from the original other than Tatum and McConaughey, now would be a good time to round out the remaining cast and their lone character trait.
- Big D*ck Richie (Joe Manganiello)- He’s got a big d*ck and that’s about it. He laments that maybe his member is too big and he scares women off with his big member and that’s a real problem than a lot of men have and I know they all identify with Big D*ck Richie’s struggles. Maybe he should be called real people problems Richie. On the other hand Manganiello does get in a good Twilight/True Blood joke.
- Ken (Matt Bomer)- He’s a stripper that wants to be an actor and has been in a few commercials. That’s it.
- Tarzan (Kevin Nash)- He’s big, as in almost 7 feet big. That’s it.
- Tito (Adam Rodriquez)- He’s a stripper. But his passion is low-fat Gluten-free yogurt. I’m not kidding. That’s it.
- And there’s the Mexican guy (Gabriel Iglesias) whose sole trait is that he’s Mexican. That’s it.
They’re going to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, which I suppose is a thing. It’s time for one last hurrah before they hang their thongs and dry fornicate their way into the sunset.
Mike is perfectly content to be underpaid and make furniture.
Or is he?
After a solo dance scene in what looks to be a woodshed, Mike changes his mind and goes to Myrtle Beach for the “Convention”. In a converted food truck.
What could possibly go wrong? Other than nuclear war. Or an outbreak of deadly disease. Or crabs. As in giant killer crabs. Not that other kind.
What works with Magic Mike XXL
- The best scene is in a convenience store (“How much for the Cheetos and water?”), the one that’s been teased in the trailers. It reminds you how much fun most of the original was, and how most of this one isn‘t. May be the best thing involving the Backstreet Boys. Ever.
- In movie chock full of testosterone, Andie MacDowell and Jada Pinkett Smith show up and register as characters more than any of the male actors without the words “Channing” and “Tatum” in their names. Progress, I suppose.
- The finale is worth the $15 you and your girlfriends paid for it. Too bad you had to wade through 100 minutes of My Dinner with Channing to get to the final 20.
- Of the major releases this weekend, XXL is a lot better than that lifeless, almost saddening excuse for a Terminator movie that is Genysis.
What Doesn’t Work With Magic Mike XXL
- You really do miss Matthew McConaughey, as he’s the only one with enough charisma/star power to make people care about the non-dancing scenes. Tatum can’t carry the entire movie by himself without a little help from his friends. You realize why none of the other male actors can headline a movie on their own. Hell, the 4 lines Elizabeth Banks has made more of an impression than any of the scenes with gluten-free yogurt guy.
- Speaking of dancing, there’s really not a lot of it until the end. Just a bunch of dudes riding around in cars talking about existential nonsense, and that is as exciting as I’m making it sound. For a good portion of the middle act, the movie plays like the more tedious parts of Boyhood.
XXL? More like Magic Mike in the polar vortex. The sequel is not a step up(!) from the original. You get what you paid your singular dollar bills for.