ByBenjamin Marlatt, writer at Creators.co

Three years after the events of the first film, Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) is out of the stripping game for good and living the dream as he struggles to get by with his own furniture design business.

Which means… three-two-one – he’s back in the game.

The old gang – Ken (Matt Bomer), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan (Ken Nash) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez) – pops back up in Tampa and convinces Mike to return to the fold once more for the annual 4th of July strippers convention in Myrtle Beach.

And what a way to spend the holiday with your family.

So let’s start out with the good: Steven Soderbergh returns as cinematographer and editor.

Okay, let’s talk about the rest of this tedious shit-pile.

Between Hot Tub Time Machine 2, Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2, Ted 2 and now Magic Mike XXL, 2015 seems to be the year of the shitty sequels we don’t need, but since the first film made money we’re getting them anyway.

Before you grab your pitchforks and torches to chase me with, screaming how I’m not the target audience, keep in mind I didn’t think the first Magic Mike was really all that bad. See, with Channing Tatum headlining the cast, everyone at first expected it to be some dopey version of Step Up if it collided with a Chippendales revue, and every giddy girlfriend around the world dragged their begrudging boyfriend to see the film… only to find out it really wasn’t what they were expecting. Of course, it’ll never go down as one of director Steven Soderbergh’s best films, but he gave it just enough of his trademark style and wit, and serious but not-so-serious, evenhanded insight into the male stripping world to make it a little more entertaining than the crappy Showgirls-esque trailers had you thinking it’d be. A scene-stealing supporting performance from Matthew McConaughey didn’t hurt either.

Now, Soderbergh’s out of the director’s chair and in his place is his longtime assistant director Gregory Jacobs. McConaughey is absent as well, ’cause with the roll he’s been on the past few years he definitely knows better.

Magic Mike XXL is nothing more than a road trip. A very, excruciatingly loooong road trip that after four hours – well, actually close to two; it just felt like four – leads to the big nearly-nude dancing spectacle all the female viewers in the theater kept “Mmm-mmm-mmm-mmm – BABY!!!!” in panties-soaking anticipation any time Channing Tatum would breathe. But then even the big climactic event lacks any style or energy (although I got one good laugh out of a bizarre Twilight-themed dance number).

Essentially, the viewer’s experience here is similar to the Griswold family’s arduous, painstaking journey to Walley World that ends with them finally reaching their destination just to find out it’s closed.

As for that journey, it’s reduced to a series of long-winded and extremely tedious conversations between Mike and the guys about what they’re really passionate about: Singing, art and frozen yogurt shops (How inspiring!). There are occasional stops at both a brothel-like male strip club run by an over-acting Jada Pinkett Smith, and the home of a Southern divorcee played by a wasted Andie MacDowell (she does try her best, though, to provide what spark she can to such a thankless role) where she, her cougar pals and the guys wax philosophical on love, sex and relationships. But it’s the same long-winded, sometimes laughably bad schtick over and over again.

I’m sure the intention was to not mimic the first film and instead be an incredibly talky, character-boosting cross between My Dinner with Andre and Striptease, but these characters are so paper-thin it’s hard to care, that is if you haven’t fallen asleep by the one hour mark, about any of the mundane, painfully dull drivel they have to say. Mike’s not that interesting of a character to begin with, but in the first film he at least had the brother/sister combo of Alex Pettyfer’s Adam and Cody Horn’s Brook, and McConaughey’s Dallas there to elevate the role. Those three are gone (through flimsy offscreen exits from writer Reid Carolin) and now we’re left with the least interesting of the bunch. Boy, does the absence make a difference.

Worst of all, Tatum couldn’t look any more uninterested here. Last year he gave a great performance in Foxcatcher. Not just okay, not good; he gave a great performance, and opposite experienced veterans like Steve Carell and Mark Ruffalo at that. Despite the number of poor decisions made in between Step Up and the remarkable improvement he showed in Foxcatcher, Tatum’s come a long way as an actor; however, any potential he showed in Bennett Miller’s film is put to terrible waste here.

Magic Mike XXL takes every enjoyable aspect of the first film and tosses it out the window, choosing instead to just wander from Point A to B while it struggles to have just one damn reason for even existing. If the film isn’t boring you to death, it’s – well, boring you to death some more as it holds every viewer hostage and forcefully subjects them to this pointless, tiresomely chatty, sluggishly paced punishment that’s as witty, insightful, stylish and energetic as it’d be to sit through a CPA seminar.

I give Magic Mike XXL a D- (½★).

Review source: http://silverscreenfanatic.com/2015/07/02/magic-mike-xxl/

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