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20 July 2015 @ 11:46 pm
Film Review: Magic Mike XXL  
The gang's all back to give us the movie we all wanted in the first Magic Mike.

My biggest criticism with the first Magic Mike movie was that it sold itself as a stripper film, promising basically male Showgirls. Instead, we got a rather slowly paced Steven Soderbergh film about the dark underbelly of being a man in the stripper business. The dialogue was awkward, the acting middling, and the strips routines incredibly few.

Well, the whole gang minus Matthew McConaughey came back together to give us in the sequel the movie that was promised to us from the beginning. With Soderbergh safely taking the executive producer role, the film got handed to a director who knew to spend 70% of it shooting the glistening abs of finely ripped men as they body rolled and grinded all over the floors. The "plot" is basically Mike (Channing Tatum) reuniting with his old coworkers (Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash) for one last ride to a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. It's essentially a roadtrip movie that culiminates in a huge strip/dance routine in front of millions of screaming female convention go-ers. And it was amazing.

Magic Mike XXL is like a bowl of ice cream sundae. It has zero nutritional value and you can't eat it everyday. But when one's in the mood, it's the only thing you're going to want and you're going to want to commit to it all the way. No putting fruit in that sundae for "health" reasons. You pack in the chocolate chips and oreos and go to town on it because for that brief period, it's the only thing that'll satisfy. So for two hours, I shut off the higher functioning in my brain and just enjoyed watching incredibly sculpted men shake what God and hours of intense dieting and gym time gave them.

As a side note, I've been kind of chuckling at the interviews with the cast so far. They basically get all the invasive questions about their body that normally gets asked to female actresses in any action/comic book movie ever made. And while men getting these questions has slightly different implications, it was kind of refreshing to see the guys get asked all the stuff about manscaping and dieting while Jada Pinkett Smith and Amber Heard were asked the comparatively more character-based questions. Although, it would be a challenge to find a deep character question for anyone. This movie is way too magnificently shallow.

Some highlights:

1) Joe Manganiello. While Channing Tatum has him beat in the dancing department, Manganiello killed it in every other way. His mini-mart scene and his final solo routine were a gift. The audience I saw the movie with were actually cheering and whooping despite it not being a live performance.

2) Matt Bomer sings. Twice. He's even on the soundtrack. According to Bomer, this all came about because Channing Tatum found out he could sing and wrote it into the sequel. I have to say, watching him sing while doing his routine was way more entertaining than the Ken doll routine he did in the first movie. Also, as a side treat, people should listen to his interview on Josh Horowitz's podcast, "Happy Sad Confused." Bomer is an absolute delight through and through.

3) The music. In many ways, I know that a lot of the featured songs are bordering on kind of awful but they manage to stay just this side of okay. And really perfectly suited for stripping. I'll never hear "I Want It That Away" by the Backstreet Boys the same way ever again.

4) The new additions. Some surprising new faces appeared in this movie. I won't spoil it. But as a personal shocking moment, someone I went to college with showed up in a rather sizable role. I saw this movie with a friend who also went to the same college and she and I hit each other in the arms at the same time when he appeared. Damn, I remembered that kid before he was old enough to drink legally!
shadowfireflame: White Collarshadowfireflame on July 21st, 2015 01:42 pm (UTC)
Ooh, this sounds like fun. I saw the first movie only for Matt Bomer and was disappointed at how little he was in it. But this sounds like more fun! Ah, White Collar, how I miss you, but I'm glad that now Matt has more time to do other things like this! :)

Great review!
formerly lifeinsomniacjoonscribble on July 21st, 2015 03:03 pm (UTC)
Matt Bomer is in the 2nd movie a lot more and the movie itself is way more entertaining.

I'm looking forward to the next set of movies he has coming out!