Three years after Mike bowed out of the stripper life at the top of his game, he and the remaining Kings of Tampa hit the road to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.
By no means am I the target market for Magic Mike XXL, I thought I was going to have a female’s perspective to help on this, but my date didn’t make it so you’re stuck with a guy’s perspective. Yes, I was a guy on his own in a room full of hollering ladies, and they loved it.
So how does the second strip show stack up to Magic Mike’s first performance?
Critics seemed to lap up the first movie from (surprise directorial choice) Steven Soderbergh, but word of mouth from my female friends was that the story was just a bit weird. Maybe it was too indie and not enough formulaic romance, though no one complained about the men and their muscles. And if that was you’re feeling then, Magic Mike XXL retains the indie roots but amps up the show.
Thankfully Soderbergh steps away from the camera, and is a D.O.P. only for the first time in his career, and unheralded A.D. Gregory Jacobs steps up to the director’s chair. And does a pretty good job too. Soderbergh still gets a little too arty - there’s a terrible meet-cute at the beach where we are introduced to the love interest, though we have no idea what she looks like as it’s shot in almost pitch blackness.
Story-wise writer Reid Carolin hasn’t learnt much from the first film’s issues, with more random plot turns and unconventional romances. There are lulls where you are scratching you head as to what’s going on, like when Mike visits his old boss (an always entertaining Jada Pinkett Smith). There’s a 15-minute interlude without any of the main characters that’s just odd.
But the male-bonding road-trip is highly entertaining at times, with Joe ‘Big-Dick’ Manganiello hilarious stripping to Backstreet Boys’ I Want it That Way at a gas station. He’s gold in a great scene with some southern ladies - including a foxy Andie McDowell - and he’s got a nice Twilight gag that got plenty of laughs.
A big revelation is Danny Glover (Community), who turns up as a rapper/stripper MC and will definitely melt some hearts with his singing. And note McConaughey fans, your favourite Texan isn’t back for the sequel.
Tatum is all charm and smiles too, and the insane dance sequences at the stripper convention make up for any plot holes. Again I’m not the target audience, but after talking to some flustered female friends after, the finale was a highlight for most.
But seriously, were there any dollar bills left in America after they made this movie?
Channing Tatum brings the boys back for one last hurrah, and while the magic might be missing in the story again, there are still some hilarious and heartfelt moments - and a killer finale - that will please all the girls heading for a night out.
DVD Releases: 21st October 2015
Rating: R16 – Contains Offensive language, drug use & sexual themes
Duration: 115 minutes
Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer
Director: Gregory Jacobs (Wind Chill)
Matthew McConaughey was in talks to reprise his character role of Dallas for the sequel which he played in Magic Mike (2012) but talks fell through because of financial reasons. According to the studio, since winning his Academy Award for Best Actor in Dallas Buyers' Club (2013), McConaughey's pay rate had increased which is a tactical procedure for an actor after he just won an Academy Award to capitalize on his acclaimed success. This led to the studio optioning to pass on bringing McConaughey back for the sequel.
Alex Pettyfer did not return to reprise his role as The Kid. Reports of production from the first movie said that he and Tatum did not get along.
The first time Steven Soderbergh has been the cinematographer of a film he didn't direct.
Stephen Boss aka Twitch, was waxed on camera on The Ellen Degeneres Show prior to the start of filming his scenes.
Joe Manganiello revealed that his body on the film's poster was actually photoshopped to make it look less defined as opposed to convention where actor's bodies are enhanced for posters. He said that his body in the actual photograph has far more muscle definition but it had to be toned down when they made a poster out of that photo.
Cody Horn is not returning to reprise her role as Brooke.
Michael Strahan announced on Live with Kelly and Michael that he would indeed make an appearance in Magic Mike XXL