Magic Mike XXL
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Writer: Reid Carolin
Sequel to: Magic Mike
Cast: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Matt Bomer, Gabriel Iglesias, Adam Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith, Donald Glover, Stephen Boss, Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Banks
Seen on: 8.8.2015
Mike (Channing Tatum) is hard at work, trying to get his construction business off the ground. But so far, it hasn’t quite paid off. When he is visited by his former stripper colleagues Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan (Keven Nash), Ken (Matt Bomer) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez), he first declines their invitation to come to Stripper Con to make one big, last splash in the business. But he finally does give in and they are on their way. But one difficulty after the other hits their road trip and since they are all out of money, fortunately most of their problems can be solved by dancing.
Every once in a while, Magic Mike XXL has moments where it is exactly the film I wanted it to be. Unfortunately, for the most part it consists of dreary dialogue scenes and has some of the worst pacing I’ve ever seen in a film.
The problem with the dialogues in the film was not that I only wanted to see hot guys take their clothes off and not be bothered with such things as personality (I know that the complaint may sound that way). The problem was more that most of the dialogues were atrociously written and the acting was, for the most part, sub par.
They were trying very hard to build up a sense of relentless energy by frantic fast-talking, but all attempts at a build up were utterly thwarted by the movie’s pacing that makes it feel five hours long: whenever the movie gathered some steam, we’d get an abrupt cut and it would all be over – instead we’d be thrown into one of those dialogue scenes and I just didn’t care to hear those because their struggles didn’t feel real to me. The movie spends practically no time setting them up or developing them.
The only character where we got any sense of development was Richie. He struggles with who he wants to be (they all do, but only with him it feels true and not just like a line) and where he fits in the world – quite literally (his nickname is Big Dick Richie and it’s exactly as it sounds). Joe Manganiello, though still not the best dancer, is also the only one who seems to have fun when performing, especially with the scene at the gas station and the grand finale. His plotline neatly encapsulated the film I actually wanted Magic Mike to be: a film about how sex and sexy things can and should be funny, warm and sexy, all at the same time. But unfortunately Richie is relegated to the sidelines in the Mike-show (though not as much as the other members of the troupe).
I appreciated that they tried to send a sex-positive message that valued female desire as something natural and something that’s fun and something that makes men happy, too, when it’s fulfilled. But they went the way of “all women are queens and/or goddesses” rhetoric and I just don’t care for that concept: women are human beings. Whether you put them in a cage at your feet or on a pedestal way above your head, both things confine us and make us not human. I don’t want to be a goddess, I just want to be myself.
There were a few things that worked very well about the film – the choreographies were nice, if sometimes insane; I loved that there were quite a few fat women attending those stripper shows, normalizing both fat women and their desire; and every once in a while, the film is really funny – but it just wasn’t enough to really make the film work for me.