Film Reviews

AS PITHY AS IT GETS – <i>Magic Mike XXL</i> (2015)

AS PITHY AS IT GETS – Magic Mike XXL (2015)

Alice Chou

July 15th, 2015

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Magic Mike was a critical and financial success when it came out in 2012, so a sequel was inevitable. There is much anticipation and excitement for Magic Mike XXL. Although most people involved in these two movies are the same, the result is not. I liked the first Magic Mike because it was fun and smart and had a satisfying ending. These elements are missing in the new movie.

Written by Reid Carolin and directed by Gregory Jacobs, who was the first unit director for the first one, the movie takes place three years later. The King of Tampa is in shambles and Mike (Channing Tatum) is having second thoughts about his furniture-making business and trouble at home. The buddies, Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Big Dick Richie (Joe Mangoniello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), and Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias), decide to do one last show at a male stripper convention. So the road trip to Myrtle Beach begins, with Mike joining in at the last minutes. It then becomes a male-bonding-inside-a-yogurt-truck road-trip movie. Gone this second time around are Mike’s wife, Brooke, and his ex-boss, Dallas (Matthew McConaughey), which is bad for the movie and good for McConaughey. Jada Pinkett-Smith and Andie MacDowell are brought in to fill the void,but their characters are caricatures and somewhat annoying. I am not sure what purpose Chloe (Amber Heard) serves, but she shows up from time to time as a potential friend for Mike.

There is a lot of talking in this movie. Unfortunately, the talks are about nothing and full of nonsense and gibberish. I do not remember much because I was bored by the witless banters between characters. I do remember there are a lot of F-bombs. I also feel bad for Matt Bomer, as he has the “what am I doing here?” look throughout the movie. Some may argue that we do not expect thought-provoking ideas, good acting, or anything serious from this type of movie. If that is the case, then where are the entertaining performances?

The first half of the movie is filled with dull moments that one can sleep through without missing anything pertinent. There are a few side trips on the way to the finale for some lap dances and simulated sex routines by minor characters as a way to prepare the audience for the final showdown. When it does finally come, it is a letdown. There is no spectacular dance routine. The acts seem to be inspired by Miley Cyrus twerking and Fifty Shades of Grey bondage. If lots of bumping and grinding by men with six-packs and tight butt cheeks are what you like, then this is sufficient. Call me old fashioned, but I prefer sophisticated and sensual production numbers to lap dances gone wild. Of these male entertainers, Channing Tatum is the most natural one, as he used to be a dancer. At times, the others can look a little awkward.

Reid Carolin wrote both movies and although Steven Soderbergh is not the director this time around, he is Magic Mike XXL’s executive producer, cinematographer, and editor. Maybe they are too complacent or maybe they’re trying too hard to avoid repeating themselves, but this one just does not measure up.

Magic Mike XXL continues its run at the Regal Valley River Center Stadium 15 and the Cinemark 17. Click here for showtimes.

Alice Chou is a physician by trade, but a lifelong cinephile and a novice movie reviewer. As Pithy as it Gets is an irregular column in which she provides critical analysis of films screening locally.

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