- Rome

Magic Mike XXL

<..." /> Magic Mike XXL surprisingly measures up to its title - Sioux City Now

Movie Reviews

Published on July 15th, 2015 | by Nakia Tyler


Magic Mike XXL surprisingly measures up to its title

“We gonna see if he still got some magic in that Mike.”
– Rome

Magic Mike XXL

DirectorGregory Jacobs
Writer: Reid Carolin
Stars: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, Kevin Nash, Jada Pinkett Smith, Amber Heard, and Donald Glover

IMDB Linkhttp://www.imdb.com/title/tt2268016/?ref_=ttfc_fc_tt


First thing’s first. I’m going to need to see a photo ID before you continue. Just hold it up to the screen, please. I’ll wait.

Okay, okay. I’m just kidding. Unlike the teenage boy at the movie theatre who sold me my ticket for Magic Mike XXL, I won’t make you prove you’re over 18 to read this review. I will, however, ask you to keep an open mind, as what I’m about to tell you might require you to suspend your disbelief for the next ten minutes or so.

Magic Mike XXL is actually a decent movie.

In my opinion, it’s much better than the original, which, to be fair, wasn’t a cinematic masterpiece to begin with. But you know how sequels usually go. This could have been so very, very bad, but I was pleasantly surprised with how much I enjoyed it.

XXL takes place three years after the first film ended, and starts by giving us a glimpse of what our title character (Channing Tatum) is up to now. When we last saw Mike Lane, he was leaving the stripping life in pursuit of his dream to build custom furniture from scraps on the beach. The first shot of the film tells us two things simultaneously: Mike’s dream did come true, but he’s still not happy.

Then, he gets a phone call.

The Kings of Tampa are passing through town, and even though they’re leaderless (the absence of Dallas and The Kid are quickly explained), they’ve banded together with a unified vision: go to the Stripper Convention in Myrtle Beach and have one last wild ride before leaving the industry for good. They don’t ask Mike to come along, but a brief trip down memory lane is apparently all it takes to remind him of the good times, and he invites himself to the party.


At this point, XXL diverges from it’s predecessor in many ways. Of course, you still have hot guys, bare chests, rock hard abs, and magical dance moves. That’s all a given. But the franchise has matured a lot in the last three years, and without The Kid around to bring down the average age of the group, these guys have a chance to act like grown-ups. Sometimes.


Where the first film was mostly dark and depressing, showing us one gritty, seedy situation after another, this sequel is light, fun, and incredibly entertaining. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, and the pilgrimage to convention is filled with shenanigans, self-discovery, and many, many opportunities to put their amazing bodies on display.

This concept of self-discovery is one of the deeper themes to sneak its way into this feast of flesh, and it plays a big role, as nearly every character is at a crossroads, the way Mike was in the last film.

The future is uncertain for the Kings, and they are all wondering what comes next for them once the road trip is over. But the secondary characters have their own discoveries to make. From Andre, the aspiring musician (Danny Glover) to Nancy, the unhappy divorcee (Andie MacDowell), there are many unlived dreams waiting to come true in XXL.


Tito and Tobias (Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias, respectively) have already teamed up on a joint effort – a food truck that’s half DJ booth, half frozen probiotic yogurt stand. Ken Doll (Matt Bomer) is not only a 3rd level Reiki healer, but has an impressive set of pipes that he’s apparently been hiding this whole time. With a little encouragement from Mike, Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) embraces his male entertainer within and discovers that he is more than capable of creating his own dance routines.


These hidden talents are believable, for the most part, with one disappointing exception: Tarzan. I love Kevin Nash as much as any other old school professional wrestling fan, and therefore I enjoy seeing him on the big screen. His portrayal of a male stripper with limited dancing skills was great in the first film; he had very little dialogue and minimal screen time. It was a perfect part for him, and I think they made a mistake in trying to add more depth to his character.

Maybe – maybe – I could buy that he’s the oil-and-canvas guy he claims to be. Picasso by day, Tarzan by night? Sure, why not? And he does have a few touching moments with his costars that actually feel genuine. But the revelation towards the end of the film (spoiler alert) that he is a Desert Storm veteran is one step too far, especially when he compares his pre-stripping nerves to getting ready for war.


Since the first film primarily focused on Mike and his young protege, Adam, it makes sense that the other characters are fleshed out a bit more in this installment. The development of the characters is nice for those of us that like our beefcakes with a side of personality, but it also serves to inspire new material for the upcoming convention. Out from under Dallas’ controlling thumb, the guys have a chance to get creative and have fun with their routines, and we, as the audience, get to have fun with them.

Another surprising theme is one of female appreciation. This comes mostly at the hands of a new character, Rome (Jade Pinkett Smith), who runs a subscription based pleasure service for the ladies. Basically, if you join her club, you can come to her mansion and appreciate the beauty of mostly naked men, who will make you feel worshipped and adored.


Now, personally, having a strange (albeit beautiful) man grinding his thinly covered groin against my face isn’t my idea of being worshipped, but, hey. It’s the thought that counts, right?

Rome refers to her clients as Queens, and the idea that all women should be treated well is a concept that carries on throughout the film. Indeed, the men of Magic Mike XXL bestow the healing properties of their pelvic thrusting upon women of all sizes, shapes, and colors indiscriminately. And, unlike in the first film, there aren’t any fat-shaming, back-straining moments, even when Michael Strahan’s character picks up a heavier woman during his dance routine.

The lack of female nudity is another noticeable difference from the first film, which adds to the lady-friendly vibe. The all-inclusive, respectful approach that this movie takes towards women definitely panders to its target audience, but in a good way.

While the story does have some substance to it, the plot is mostly predictable, probably because all of the imagination for this movie went into the choreography. Some of the dancing is downright questionable (poor Tarzan), and a few routines are ho-hum, but there are plenty of jaw-dropping, face-burning, internally-screaming kind of moments to make up for it.


Tatum, Manganiello, and Pinkett-Smith are the strongest in their roles, and are the most fun to watch on screen, but the other actors deliver mostly solid performances. In some moments, the dialogue seems so natural that it feels entirely unscripted.

All in all, Magic Mike XXL measures up to its title. It takes everything you love about the first film (sans Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer, of course) and adds extra fun, extra laughs, and extra heart, making it a surprisingly positive film that everyone can enjoy.

As long as you’re over 18.

Magic Mike XXL is now playing at Sioux City Promenade Theater. Click here for showtimes.

View the official trailer below:

All animated gifs are courtesy of the Magic Mike XXL Tumblr.

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About the Author

Nakia is a Web Specialist at Team Creative Fire. When she isn’t exercising her creative muscle, she spends her time fan-girling over Doctor Who, playing with her adorable niece, and channeling her inner Hello Kitty. If you see her out and about having adventures, feel free to say hi. She’ll probably be wearing pink.

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