Movie: Magic Mike XXL
My Rating: 4 stars
This movie is so much fun. If you’re not familiar with the Magic Mike franchise, you might think that they’re just a trashy excuse to watch some stripping man-candy. And, I guess the first movie kind of fits that description. That first film did take itself a little too seriously, and those guys were trying so hard to be sexy. But what they didn’t realize is that male strippers are inherently comical. Women and men go to strip clubs for very different reasons. Ladies aren’t sitting alone in a dingy, corner booth trying to convince some poor dancer to give them a lap-dance, even through they broke the club’s dress code and came in with sweat pants. No, women are usually at these “male reviews” with a huge group of friends, and mostly to giggle and shriek, and embarrass each other. And, I think the filmmakers realized this. So, in this second film, they decided to just have fun with the idea. And it paid off.
This movie treats itself as a comedy from start to finish. Sure, we get a few very soulful scenes with Channing Tatum dancing alone in his metal shop to Pony. Ya know, for old time’s sake. But, right away the script acknowledges just how cheesy male strippers are. So, they took the story where every good comedy starts—a road trip!!! The destination? Well, the stripping championships, in Myrtle Beach, of course! And, these guys dance their way through every gas station, house party, and strip club they hit on their way there. And, they charm the pants off all the ladies they meet. It’s ridiculous in the best way possible. I especially love it when the lads make a stop at Jada Pinkett Smith’s boy-toy-bordello. Although, I think that all the lady-romancing was my least favorite part of the film—a little too earnest. I need a little comedy with my rippling abs.
I had a great time laughing at this movie. But the cheesiness wasn’t all I liked about it. I’m not ashamed to say that I enjoyed some of the half-dressed gyrations (even though I don’t typically go for that beefy type). Although, I think it actually had something to do with the fact that at its core, this is really a dance flick. And, you know how much I love those—the artificial stakes, the dance-offs, the overwrought drama. And, the dance numbers in this movie are actually pretty great—especially Channing Tatum and Michael Strahan’s finale number. It’s spectacular. In fact, I think I want to go watch it again.
I recommend this movie. And, I recommend it to more people than you’d think the target audience would be. I admit that the first film was pretty much made for bachelorette parties. But, this movie was designed to appeal to more people than just drunk bridesmaids or frustrated housewives. The tone of the movie is actually more goofy than it is sexy with its road-trip plot line. And, it’s also got all the sweet choreography for dance movie fans like me. So, I actually do urge you to take a chance on this one. You may just be surprised. And, I wouldn’t steer you wrong, would I?