Magic Mike XXL-2015
Scott’s Review #290
Reviewed November 27, 2015
Magic Mike XXL might possibly be the worst film of 2015. The follow-up to 2012’s Magic Mike (a predictable yet decent flick), this version has none of the novelty nor the basic storyline that the original contained. Instead, audiences are treated to a lame mess of nonsense, lack of a story that makes sense or is realistic, plot holes galore, and, to nitpick a bit given the subject matter at hand, scarcely any skin at all. A stripper road trip kind of movie, I can’t quite decide if the film was targeting frat guys looking for a buddy movie or teen girls and soccer Mom’s looking for escapism.
Even in a less than adequate film, I always try to find something positive to mention, whether it be with the characters, the story, or cinematic elements, but I truly cannot find any redeeming value to Magic Mike XXL. Fortunately, Matthew McConaughey had the good sense not to sign on to appear in this drivel. The same is not the case with Channing Tatum as he is the star of this installment. Poor guy. I hope the paycheck was worth it.
The premise is as follows: Mike (Tatum), who is out of the stripper business and now runs a furniture business, receives a call that his former boss is “gone”. Mistaking this to mean he has died, Mike returns to Florida to see his old buddies, who convince him to join a stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, to end their careers on a high note. While on the road en route to the convention, problems, secrets, and past faces resurface to add to the drama.
Mike’s love interest from the first film is barely mentioned and dismissed in a weak story-dictated explanation. Clearly, this is an attempt for Mike to have a new love interest in the character of Zoe, a photographer headed to New York and played by Amber Heard.
The film is really a mess from start to finish, but here are highlights (or low-lights). The silliness in conflict over coming up with a new routine fails miserably. The character of Richie (Joe Manganiello) slinks into a convenience store and razzle dazzles a brooding cashier, making her burst with delight because she thinks he is dancing for her. C’mon! Completely juvenile, watered down, and unrealistic.
The stereotypes simply flow from Magic Mike XXL. En route to Myrtle Beach, the fellas make two stops that are the most ridiculous parts of the film and feature name actresses in silly roles. When their van breaks down after an accident, clearly a plot driven way to allow the group to be sans vehicle, Mike looks up an ex named Rome (a severely miscast and unappealing Jada Pinkett Smith), who runs a weird male stripper house for bachelorette’s in the middle of nowhere. After a lame strip scene (PG rated at best) to impress Rome, the boys are on their way again. What was the point of introducing Rome to the story at all? And there is zero chemistry between Tatum and Smith. It seems like complete filler and the dancing scene endless.
As if the film wasn’t bad enough already, one of the dancer’s looks up his love interest and the group winds up at her mother’s house. A fifty-something boozy, sophisticate, played by Andie MacDowell, is the mother Nancy, and along with her group of cougar friends, flirt with the boys and conjures up every negative female stereotype imaginable- a couple of the women are misunderstood by their husbands and are feeling needy and desperate. And of course they are all horny and oogling over the guys.
And what is with the lack of nudity or much skin? Is Magic Mike XXL not a stripper film? Besides Manganiello’s bare bum in one brief pool scene, there is nothing else and barely any stripping going on. This truly makes the film weak.
Magic Mike XXL is a complete dud of a film and I hope against hope that there will not be a third installment. If the target audience is giggly teen girls, the horrific bad writing does not say much for society these days.