2012’s Magic Mike, loosely based on star Channing Tatum‘s early career as a male stripper was a surprise hit. Not only did it rake in an impressive box office on a micro-budget, it was critically praised. Naturally we’re getting a sequel.
The last film ended with Mike (Tatum) leaving the world of entertainment behind in favor of pursuing love and a passion for creating custom furniture. It’s not actually as hokey as it sounds. Love has left him, though, and running your own business is stressful, no matter how much you love it. When he finds out the rest of his former dance partners are headed to the annual stripper convention for one last hurrah before trying to find new places in the world it seems like the perfect opportunity to blow off some steam. One last dance. And one crazy road trip.
Returning, along with Tatum are Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, and Gabriel Iglesias. Newcomers include Andie MacDowell, Amber Heard, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Donald Glover. Michael Strahan cameos as a dancer and Elizabeth Banks appears as the emcee of the stripper convention. Seriously, someone get that woman some sort of hosting gig. After this and her Pitch Perfect persona, it’s obviously her true calling.
While the first film transcended expectations of being a raunchy display of man-candy by being cut from surprisingly complex (relatively speaking) dramatic cloth, this sequel is nothing but one big road trip comedy with lots and lots of grinding pelvises and glistening abs. Even so, the characters feel true to themselves, just in a different time of their lives. It’s a much lighter ride with the biggest stakes being whether they can come up with a new routine to impress the stripper fans, and what passions they’ll follow afterwards.
This is an R rated dramady (more comedy than drama) about male strippers. You should know what to expect going in. That said, it’s actually cleaner than one might imagine. The amount of nudity, for example, is about on par with what we were treated to in X-Men: Days of Future Past. There’s language, but nothing shocking, and we barely even get into any drug/alcohol use. Mostly we just get some fantastically choreographed, expertly executed, extremely dirty and suggestive dancing. Tatum especially impresses, showing off the moves that got him noticed in the entertainment industry to begin with, pulling off some stunts I never would have even imagined before.
Officially staking claim in the comedy genre, the laughs are consistent, the story remains solid if mostly transparent, and there is plenty for the ladies to lap up. Despite the premise, it remains one of the more respectful comedies of the year and offers up enough ingredients other than beefcake that it’s entertaining for the men inevitably being dragged along by their significant others who couldn’t arrange a ladies’ night.
Let’s put it this way – if the poster gets you going, you’ll have a great time. If not, you still probably won’t hate it.
Mrs. Hamster says:
“Matt Bomer strips AND sings!”
My rating: Three out of five hats
Magic Mike XXL thrusts into 3,350 theaters, July 1
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