Mike reunites with the remaining Kings of Tampa to travel to Myrtle Beach to put on one last blow-out performance.
Channing Tatum - Mike
Joe Manganiello - Richie
Kevin Nash - Tarzan
Matt Bomer - Ken
When Magic Mike was released in 2012 it was rudely dismissed by many. Of course a story about male strippers starring the likes of Channing Tatum was not going to appeal to everyone, especially the snobs amongst the cinefiles. And sure, it wasn't brilliant or to everyone's taste, but underneath the direction of Steven Soderbergh, dubbed 'the poster boy of the Sundance generation', it was much more than men taking their clothes off. The drug drama provided a raw and gripping edge to the piece, Matthew McConaughey's performance was engaging and his character dynamic, and it even had a good sense of humour to it. Although ladies and gentleman could enjoy it, the film found its primary audience amongst the females, and so it wasn't long until a sequel was announced, cheekily called Magic Mike XXL. With Soderbergh departing from the series along with McConaughey and trailers that were clearly playing to hen do crowds, they do say 'You're Welcome' I mean come on, would Mike still have his magic? Unfortunately no. The dance and stripping scenes are well choreographed and extremely entertaining and there is the odd bit of humour, but the rest of it feels pointless, dry and is just, well, utterly dull. Seriously, watching paint dry is more enjoyable than Magic Mike XXL at times.
There are certainly more bumps than grinds in this troubled sequel. The storyline is simple, the remaining Kings of Tampa join together for a last blow-out performance at an infamous stripper convention, and so a cliche road trip style is taken on. However, it is not enough to drive the film and just feels sheer lazy. Very little attempt is made at developing any kind of engaging story with something of interest involved, and it appears that the attitude of the filmmakers is that the audience only care about the abs that are going to be on show and so the other hour and a half does not matter at all. That time does matter though as the audience have to sit through the dullness in order to get to the stripping scenes they paid money to see. Well, they will have to drink a lot of coffee to ensure that they stay awake enough to reach the climax that leaves little to the imagination.
One of the highlights of the first film was the dynamics between the characters which provided laughs and ensured that the audience were engaged. However, without McConaughey's domineering presence the Kings of Tampa seem lost, with their banter dwindling and a lack of energy on screen. Even Tatum's charm seems to be dying, and the new characters we are introduced to are just a waste of space, especially the female characters played by Jada Pinkett Smith and Elizabeth Banks. The only time the cast seem to have any kind of energy are in the stripping scenes, which are extremely entertaining and well-put together. Perhaps the best scene in the whole film is when Joe tries to cheer up a girl at a gas station. Outrageous, fun and completely bizarre it was very enjoyable, rounded off his character and reminded me of the nature of the first film and why it worked so well. The climax was also successful, an all guns out (literally) blow-out performance which was expertly choreographed and insanely captivating. Thank god it ended on a high to put a smile on the audience's faces. And what a grin it will be!
Magic Mike XXL promised more drama, more entertainment and more abs than the first films. However, it fails to deliver on any of these promises. The story is pointless and boring, and there is only about half an hour of the film actually worth watching, the entertaining stripping/dancing scenes will make the girls go all giddy and are enjoyable still for the rest of the audience. But it isn't enough. I'm sorry Mike, but your magic is no more.