Magic Mike XXL: Film Review

MAGIC MIKE XXL

The XXL in Magic Mike XXL does a great job in describing what you are going to get in this male stripper sequel – it is bigger, bolder, sexier and much more fun. I’m never going to criticise a movie where we see Channing Tatum (Mike) dancing as I LOVE his moves, but I would still say I prefer the 2012 original.

The action takes place three years after Mike quit the Kings of Tampa to start his own furniture business. He realises he misses the performance element of stripping and meets up with the crew – Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) – who have been ditched by their manager so they are bowing out of the business with one final blowout road trip to a stripper convention in South Carolina, with Mike in tow.

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It is being pitched as ‘more of the same’ because the focus is still on male stripping but this film is actually pretty different in terms of tone and themes. Magic Mike, if you take away the strip routines, was actually very dark and moody, with drugs and Mike wanting to escape that seedy life, whereas this is just fun all the way. In the original, stripping was part of Mike’s larger story, in XXL it is ALL about stripping – it’s like the money makers went ‘what made the first one so popular?’ and based the entire sequel around that, which makes those scenes less special.

This is a much lighter outing and a happier watch. The last one was all about Mike, whereas the other strippers get to shine here and we learn more about them, which is brilliant for loads of bro banter. Some conversations had me in stitches, particularly when they revolved around the size of Richie’s namesake manhood. Mike still gets all the best choreography, naturally, and his dancing in the garage and the finale convention dance are highlights, but Manganiello gets his own scene-stealing routine in a supermarket that is genius.

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I loved the addition of Jada Pinkett Smith. Her character was so sassy, and she was a brilliant MC and strip joint owner. Her character is almost the same as Fish Mooney, her role in the Gotham TV series though. I would have loved more Elizabeth Banks and Amber Heard’s character was pretty unnecessary – she didn’t really add anything but I still liked her, especially when she is criticising Mike for preferring cookies over red velvet cake.

The music was on point, as to be expected, and we even get a singing debut from Bomer, who nails his performance. Each stripper gets to shine in this and it feels like more of an ensemble piece. I preferred the routines in the first one simply because they were new and fresh. Here, you can tell they wanted to go XXL on what had gone before but that meant there is just a lot of face-in-crotch action and it is much dirtier. It was still fun to watch but it didn’t have the same magic of the original – until the convention finale as Tatum’s mirrored routine with tWitch (who plays Malik) is absolutely insane.

This is a lot of good fun, so don’t be put off by the serious nature of the original. Fans of Magic Mike will come see this regardless but you can easily understand this without seeing the first one. This would make an enjoyable night out, I had a smile on my face the whole time and if you go simply for the stripping, you won’t be disappointed.

Released in cinemas on Friday 3rd July 

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  1. […] on a road trip with the boys to a stripper convention (of course!) Expect lots of sexy dance moves! Read my review. Released: […]

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