One of the most pleasant surprises of the year so far was Magic Mike XXL, a thoroughly entertaining, funny, beautifully shot film about five friends on a road trip. There also happens to be a lot of male stripping. The movie was marketed towards women and rightfully so, that's probably the best way the movie was going to make money. But upon viewing the film I couldn't help but think why this is so much more of a guys' movie than it is a girls'. The movie on it's opening 5 day weekend grossed $27 Million at the domestic box office and only 4% of the audience was men, meaning 96% of the people who went to see Magic Mike XXL were women.
The story is told from the perspective of Mike, played by Channing Tatum. He was once a male entertainer who left that life behind to follow his dreams of a respected career. We follow Mike as he's roped back into the business and how he feels about being back in it. If the story was told from the perspective of a woman in the audience than I would completely understand why guys wouldn't be interested in this flick. But the movie is about men, it's about the bond between five male entertainers and why they do what they do.
Not only do we see the actual dance routines of the strippers, but we see the ins and outs of the actual business, what happens on and off stage. I doubt many women are going to be following a career in the male entertainment business, so this look into what it's really like could be insightful for a man with the same career in mind.
Some of the dance scenes may make male audiences feel a bit awkward, but they'e undeniably well choreographed and beautifully shot which makes them quite bearable. The god like physiques of some of these men may also inspire a few male viewers to hit the gym, which is always a positive thing.
These are the scenes in which women can go nuts, they can put themselves in the role of an audience member in those locations and like the women in the film, be in heaven for a few minutes.
Best known for directing the Ocean's trilogy, another set of films about a group of guys, Steven Soderbergh directed the first Magic Mike which was very much about drugs, addiction, and life, more so than it was about whipping your clothes off on stage. Soderbergh created a much more engaging film than what the marketing let on, and even though he didn't return to direct the sequel, he was on set as the director of photography, he also edited the film, and his themes from the first film do make a return.
The main theme I took away from Magic Mike XXL was the pleasure of women. Throughout the movie, characters are questioned as to why they do what they do. It's not for the money, it's for the satisfaction of making a woman feel like her best self, giving her that couple of minutes in absolute heaven while one of many muscle bound men make her feel truly special. You'll notice in the film that the strippers always single out one individual woman from a crowd and center in on her, making her feel significant, special and wanted.
This isn't only done through stripping though; in the scene were Tatum and his friends arrive at a friend's house and they walk in on a middle aged women's gathering, Matt Bomer's character serenades one of the women who's having some marital issues. Her husband doesn't like to have sex with the lights on, and this makes her feel unwanted and not beautiful. Matt Bomer sings for her, he doesn't strip off, but he makes her feel wanted, beautiful and special and the faces of the other four women in the room all light up as well. Donald Glover's character in the film doesn't really strip off, he asks women what they like and what they want and he puts it all into an original song, highlighting who they are and who they want to be. He later expresses that he looks at himself and his colleagues as "healers" because what they're doing can become quite spiritual for a woman.
Those are the reasons why Magic Mike XXL is one of the best movies of the year and why all you guys should man up and go see it!
Do you agree or disagree? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter @JamesPorter97