Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Movie Review #275: "Magic Mike XXL" (2015)

Movie"Magic Mike XXL"
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Rating: R
Running Time: 1 hour, 55 minutes
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Since leaving The Kings of Tampa, Mike (Channing Tatum) has fulfilled his dream of starting his own custom furniture business. When Mike gets a distressing call from Tarzan (Kevin Nash), he meets up with him and the remaining Kings of Tampa. Due to the situation, they no longer have a regular show, but want to head to Myrtle Beach for the national stripper convention for one final hurrah. Mike, missing the life a bit, decides to join the team for their road trip and final show. 

While Gregory Jacobs was off making excuses for Cody Horn, Alex Pettyfer and Matthew McConaughey's absences in between the Magic Mike films, couldn't they have found a way to get rid of Kevin Nash, too??

"Magic Mike XXL" strips this sequel of all of the dramatic bullshit from the first "Magic Mike" movie and reduces it down to a bromance filled, slightly more entertaining road trip movie. The guys are mostly all back together again. There's Magic Mike, played by Channing Tatum, who has spent the last 3 years away from the male entertainment industry. In his off time, he has managed to fulfill his dream of owning his own custom furniture business. He's really the only one who has done anything permanent in the last 3 years. Also back are Big Dick Richie, played by Joe Manganiello, Ken, played by Matt Bomer, Tito, played by Adam Rodriguez, and human science experiment Kevin Nash, who plays Tarzan and we finally discover his real name????? After getting in touch with Mike, the guys reconvene together along with Tobias, played by the hilarious Gabriel Iglesias, and head to the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach for the Fourth of July in Tito and Tobias' mobile froyo/DJ food truck. Shenanigans are had along the way, as with any road trip movie, only this time, these studs are packing heat, and it's not coming from their luggage. We meet new characters such as Rome, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, a character from Mike's past, and Paris, played by Elizabeth Banks, who both have smaller but integral parts.

Gone are the days of Steven Soderbergh's unnecessary artsy fartsy camera work and superfluous dramatic elements, but this sequel still feels as long and slow as the last flick. When push comes to shove, "XXL" is about a bunch of guys having one last f**king ride, before, well, who knows what? They all get old and too undesirable for stripper movies? Maybe, but Kevin Nash is already there and Joe Manganiello is basically the perfect human specimen, so he probably won't have any problems getting work. Even according to BigJ (and I): "he should probably just win sexiest man of the year every year." The narrative of this film might seem trite, and don't get us wrong, it is, but in a surprising twist, we didn't hate it. Hell, BigJ even laughed a couple of times! By focusing on this "bro" element, "Magic Mike XXL" does try to have it both ways, which might be better for some, but worse for others. Less than half of the time this go around is spent trying to pander to a female audience with the abs and sexy dancing, which, let's be honest, is probably why most people want to see this movie in the first place. Though there were bromantic moments in the first film, the level of male camaraderie is kicked up about 5 notches, and others who are 'forced' to see this movie may appreciate the displays of friendship and lack of man-peen this time around. Where some will see failure, we saw something click, maybe it was because we hope, nay, pray there won't be another one of these movies, and that goes for me, too, but something was different this time around. There was no tension, there's not a lot of whining. ABsolutely no, this is not the best movie ever, and no, not all of the dialogue and scenarios are perfect. In fact, we rolled our eyes on more than one occasion. The bottom line is, there's a lot less male nudity and a lot more talking, a lot less competition and a lot more elongated scenes of driving, roads paved with good intentions, and coincidental meet-ups in the guys' favor. The ladies will love it for obvious reasons, and others who are dragged along for said last ride might not completely hate their lives.

My Rating: 6.5/10
BigJ's Rating: 6/10
IMDB's Rating: ~6.5/10
Rotten Tomatoes Rating: ~57%
Do we recommend this movie: Sure, why not?

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