Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Magic Mike: XXL

Starring: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Jada Pinkett Smith
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes

Rating: R

XXL doesn't even begin to describe it. I literally had to take off my cardigan in the first 15 minutes. It's everything you wanted more of from the first "Magic Mike," just with a few unnecessary scenes of dialogue. But they really gave us what we craved: shirtless men, pelvic-thrusting and gyrating to slow R&B jamz, including none other than Mike's signature "Pony." We certainly get an eyefull. I always knew Channing had moves, but Manganiello and Bomer? Out of nowhere! You don't have to see the first "Magic Mike" to appreciate all that XXL has to offer (though you should - it is also entertaining.) Tons of grammies in the audience seemed to be enjoying it too.
Items unfortunately not drawn to scale.
Photo Courtesy Cosmopolitan.
The boys reunite, this time sans Dallas (McConaughey) and head to Myrtle Beach for the male stripper convention. Along the way, they encounter drag queens, lonely housewives and Michael Strahan like you've never seen him before. Live with Kelly and Michael? More like Live with Michael's groin straddling a woman's face.

For every slow and lackluster scene (there are a handful), there is a riveting, sit up in your seat scene, most notably Manganiello dancing to a famous boy band song in a 7-Eleven and Bomer serenading a 40-something housewife to the song "Heaven." Just when you're itching for a new dance number, you get one. Also, I have a new crush on Manganiello. I resisted as long as I could, but this movie will make anyone weak in the knees for him.

This movie has a touch of lady power, though the men clearly shine. Jada Pinkett Smith is slightly annoying as Rome, a nightclub owner who becomes the boys' emcee. Amber Heard (aka Mrs. Johnny Depp) is hardly recognizable and doesn't add much pizzaz to the movie. Andie Macdowell's Southern accent is too forced, which surprised me considering she is from the South. However, her 10 minute scene is one of the more entertaining.

On a more "film studies" note, you can expect the same sepia tones as in the first film. A few scenes were even shot in the shadows, almost so dark that you couldn't see faces or who is speaking. Totally reminisceient of the indie feel of the first "Mike." Don't be shy - go see this film. There's no shame in the gratuitousness these men give. Just enjoy. Then go take a cold shower.

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