Magic Mike XXL
Magic Mike XXL definitely loses the charm and subtext left by Steven Soderbergh in the first film, but the dance numbers are crazier, the music louder and Channing Tatum more sweaty. Ladies are going to love this excessive, but unnecessary sequel.
Gregory Jacobs‘ Magic Mike XXL is a fan-pleasing sequel, ramping up on every aspect of the original, aside from the story. XXL presents extended and imaginative dance numbers, which are definitely impressive, but forgets to further the story between Mike and his band of stripping brothers. It’s pointless, but entertaining for those willing to bring their $1’s to the party.
Mike (Channing Tatum) finally escaped his past life of a male stripper, but soon finds out that the real world is a lot harder (and less fun) than he’d imagined. Now, he sells his custom furniture, but struggles keeping his head up as he tries his hardest to capture his American dream.
Or at least that’s what we’re briefly led to believe until director Gregory Jacobs cuts to the rest of Magic Mike XXL, which follows Mike as he reunites with his old crew minus The Kid and Dallas for one last week hoorah before again returning to the “real world”.
The story of Magic Mike XXL is almost nonexistent and that’s made loud and clear within the opening minutes that briefly show Mike’s struggle before he returns to a world that he literally just left for almost no reason at all.
Director Gregory Jacobs takes over for his longtime friend and collaborator Steven Soderbergh — who managed to turn the first film into more than just a fun time, but a film full of subtext.
Jacobs’ sequel loses that initial charm left by Soderbergh, but capitalizes on the dance numbers, which are impressive and extremely excessive.
In fact, most of the film gets by on being competently shot from head-to-toe, with Jacobs capturing the lighting and skilled camerawork needed for shooting such creative and wild dance sequences, made all the more “tense” by Channing Tatum, Kevin Nash, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello and a few newcomers to the film.
Tatum above all understands completely how silly and dumb this film is, downright mocking it in his first dance sequence with a big smile and slight laugh while he jumps around his work shop listening to Pony.
At least he understands this most of the time, because XXL could never get away with more serious matter.
The entire film feels like a weird dream that keeps going down an even weirder rabbit hole, but Tatum leads the fearless team of carved men with a smile on his face and a promise of a good time, while Jacobs occasionally makes use of his talent.
The Backstreet Boys sequence hints at the fun that could’ve been had, but the film takes too many pointless wrong turns down roads that never lead anywhere. The story never quite centralizes and mostly ends up feeling like a waste of talent and creativity.
There’s no meaty subtext this time around. Soderbergh’s film was dripping with it. Magic Mike XXL is airy and harmless, but a pedestrian effort at best that solely functions on the surface and not once bothers to attempt to reach down and discuss something more.
Gregory Jacobs does an okay job picking up Steven Soderbergh‘s slack, especially visually, but his storytelling methods are not even close and it shows again and again.
Luckily, Channing Tatum has great screen presence and appears to be very invested in the work, which helps make Magic Mike XXL at least feel like a fun passion project for him and a good time for his friends too.
Audiences will probably eat this one up and be begging for more, which is understandable, but don’t go in expecting anything more than men stripping on camera in sometimes fun dance sequences. There’s no story, no point and absolutely no reason for this film to exist aside from eye candy galore.
Save your $1’s for a film more worthy of your hard earned dollars and skip Magic Mike XXL.