Magic Mike XXL (2015)

Magic Mike XXL
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Writer: Reid Carolin
Sequel to: Magic Mike
Cast: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin NashMatt Bomer, Gabriel Iglesias, Adam Rodriguez, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett SmithDonald GloverStephen Boss, Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Banks
Seen on: 8.8.2015

Plot:
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.

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The Women (2008)

The Women is a remake of a 1939 movie. I haven’t seen the original film, so I can’t compare the two.

The reason I wanted to watch the movie is the concept behind it – there are no men in the movie. All the actors, extras and animals are female. Plus, I like Annette Bening and Meg Ryan. But I have to admit that I was really disappointed.

First, the plot, let me tell you it.

Mary (Meg Ryan), a rich New Yorker, finds out that her husband is cheating on her with a sales woman (Eva Mendes). With the more or less help of her best friends (Annette Bening, Jada Pinkett-Smith, Debra Messing), she leaves him, struggles with her mother (Candice Bergen) and her daughter (India Ennenga) for it and finally goes her own way.

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The thing is, you need more than an interesting concept and a good cast (strengthened further by Carrie Fisher and Bette Midler) to make a movie work. And this one didn’t.

It was shallow and boring and the fact that there weren’t any men in it, seemed awfully contrived. Not because I don’t think that a movie without men wouldn’t work or that you need men in a movie to make it interesting. The thing is, the movie fails on its first premise: It’s not about women and their relationships with each other. It’s about cardboard cutouts and their relationships with men. And that’s boring.

I mean, any movie should have characters. Fleshed-out, tangible and believable characters. And this movie doesn’t. It has stereotypes. Except for Annette Benning’s Sylvie, maybe. The rest – cliché after cliché piled up on one another. [And I love Bette Midler like the next person, I really do, but can she please NOT play an ageing hippy every once in a while? Although she’s great doing it.]

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Plus – and this really surprised me – this movie almost fails the Bechdel test. Yeah, you heard me. You have got a movie full of women and most of the time they talk about men. [They are saved, but only barely.] At least, it feels like it. Which is exactly, why it didn’t work not to have men in the movie.

And apart from Annette Bening, none of them seemed to have a job and all they ever did was going shopping.

But what really, really drove me insane, was Meg Ryan. Or better, Meg Ryan’s after-surgery-face, which is not able to convey any facial expressions. Seriously. I kept staring at her, thinking, “please, wrinkle your forehead for me, only once. Or smile and let it reach your eyes. Goddammit, your eyes, woman! What happened!”

And that’s enough to ruin any movie. Even one better than The Women.