Magic Mike XXL – A Review by Liz Casanova

Magic Mike XXL

By Liz Casanova

Starring Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias and Jada Pinkett Smith

Written by Reid Carolin

Directed by Gregory Jacobs

Running time 115 min

MPAA Rating R

Selig Film Rating Dollar

It’s been about three years since the popular “male entertainer” Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) shook his groove thang (or thong). This is where the film and sequel, Magic Mike XXL, picks up. Mike still has fabulous abs and a rocking bod but is wasting his talents working as a carpenter in a tidy little suburb in Florida. And then he gets a phone call that changes his life and sucks him back into the world of sparkly G-strings, baby oil and bad 80s rock.

When Mike realizes that Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) is no longer managing The Kings of Tampa, he decides to go on a road trip with them to the promise land, also known as the “stripper convention” in Myrtle Beach.  Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and their one non-stripper friend Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias) load up the food truck and head north where shenanigans ensue.

Each stop is a heavy mix of killer dance numbers and surprising comedy.  It includes a detour to Atlanta where Mike meets up with his former madam, Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith). And, of course, the final destination and climax (yes, this is a pun), the glorious stripper convention.

Magic Mike XXL is a pretty sexy film but more for its humor than the gyrating male bodies. Manganiello really is the one to watch. He unapologetically steals every moment he's on the screen. And there is that hilarious gas station scene that makes the rest of the film tolerable. “More Manganiello” should be the tag line. However, the rest of the gang isn’t too shabby either. Nash has a sweet comedic charm and Bomer is pretty easy on the eyes. There is also a surprising performance by Donald Glover, who plays a rapper/poet named Andre. It highlights his talents as the real-life rapper Childish Gambino.

Where Magic Mike XXL goes limp is the romance between Mike and Zoe (Amber Heard) that seems forced. The storyline is more of a tidy Hollywood production and less of that independent feel that the first Mike had. That’s probably because Steven Soderbergh didn’t direct this one. It just feels that Mike’s story is not that compelling. I mean, really, you're a hot guy that can dance and make the ladies drop their panties, the world is your aphrodisiac oyser. Stop feeling sorry for yourself.

Magic Mike XXL is basically The Wizard of Oz for adults who want to see hot guys in thongs. There is a type for every taste. If you’re into that, then it’s fun to see it in the theater with the girlfriends. All others feel free to avoid.

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