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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

Magic Mike XXL | Channing Tatum, Jada Pinkett Smith, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias, Andie MacDowell, Amber Heard | Review

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3sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE Judy Thorburn

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3lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is MEDIOCRE

 

Magic Mike XXL

The first Magic Mike film, inspired by actor Channing Tatum's own real life experience as a male stripper in the 1990's, was a surprise mega hit at the box office. Although not a great movie, it was entertaining and offered some behind the scenes insight into the life of a male stripper. No doubt, as a means to further cash in on its success, a sequel was inevitable.

Returning for the follow up, titled Magic Mike XXL, are Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash (a Mickey Rourke lookalike) as his gyrating buddies Big Dick Richie (enough said),  pretty boy/aspiring actor and New Age spiritualist Ken, Latino heart throb Tito, and enormous muscleman Tarzan, from their male revue Kings of Tampa, in Florida. Although mentioned in the beginning, nowhere in sight is the character of Dallas, Mike's former boss and emcee, played by Matthew McConaughey in the original. The word is that since winning a Best Actor Oscar for Dallas Buyers Club, he wanted a huge pay increase to reprise his role, which didn't sit well with the studio.

Steven Soderburgh, who co-produced and directed the original film, passed on directing the follow up, but is back as editor and cinematographer. Taking over the helm is Soderburgh's protege and frequent collaborator, Gregory Jacobs, working from a script co-written by Tatum and Reid Carolin (who wrote the first installment).

The new film picks up three years after the first, when Mike (Tatum) a struggling furniture maker, and the guys, reunite for one last performance at a Stripper Convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, that will bring down the house.

Each know they still have what it takes to drive the ladies wild. So, along the way to the convention they take several detours where they renew old relationships, make new friends and gives them chances to show off their ripped abs and the tricks of their trade.
After stopping at a convenience store, Richie decides to tease the pouty check out girl with some tantalizing moves during his quick shopping spree that winds up putting a smile on her face. Later, while passing through Savannah, Ga. on the way to Myrtle Beach, the guys make a visit to Tito's girlfriend's lavish home where they are greeted at the front door by her horny, middle aged, divorced mother, Nancy (Andie McDowell) who just happens to have several of her girlfriends over. Sure enough, that gives the guys an opportunity for them to perform for the women who are more than delighted to watch them do their thing. Last, but not least is a stop at an exclusive strip club that caters to a predominately black female clientele, owned and operated by Mike's former employer and lover, Rome (an overly affected, Jada Pinkett Smith) who they enlist as their new emcee.

Early on, Gabriel Iglesias appears as Tobias, who is recruited as the driver of their yogurt truck-turned-tour bus. However, he winds up hospitalized and out of the picture, after an unfortunate accident with the vehicle. In other, small supporting roles are Amber Heard as Zoe, Mike's potential new love interest, Donald Glover as a singer at Rome's establishment whose sexy vocals entice the ladies, So You Can Dance all star, dancer/choreographer Stephen “Twitch” Boss as one of Rome's hot male strippers that joins up with Mike to perform a mirror routine at the strip convention, and a wasted Elizabeth Banks as the Strip Convention director.  Good Morning America and Kathy Lee Gifford's co-host Michael Strahan also makes a surprise cameo appearance stripping down to his “skivvies,  as another of Rome's hunky men.

While the original Magic Mike had a plot and some character development, this sequel is a hodge podge of rambling scenes and lots of insignificant talk that lacks any real substance. There are moments where the hunks share some male bonding and camaraderie, but the focus is on their very sexually suggestive dance moves.

Telling it like it is, Magic Mike XXL is nothing more than another road trip movie, but one that showcases titillating male eye candy targeted towards female audiences. Kind of like foreplay that doesn't go any further, XXL is unsatisfying and disappointing.

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