Editor’s Notes: Magic Mike XXL is currently out in wide theatrical release.
Three years after the release of Magic Mike, a film much of the straight male population was apprehensive to see in theaters (whether due to fear of being alone among women, disinterest, or plain homophobia), here we are at the release of Magic Mike XXL. With innuendo-heavy marketing, that same straight male apprehension may likely repeat itself. But, those who avoid seeing this installment in the Magic Mike franchise will be missing out on something wonderful.
Those who avoid seeing this installment in the Magic Mike franchise will be missing out on something wonderful.
Yes, Magic Mike XXL is wonderful. Director Gregory Jacobs’ sequel is also great, enthusiastic, fun, optimistic, energetic, and assertive. It’s all of those things, and in a more concise summation, it’s a pure delight. Yes, I’m repeating myself, but that’s the effect this wonderland of choreography and comedy had on me. The film once again follows Mike and his posse, this time on a debauchery-filled road trip in a food truck up the sunny Florida coast. The destination? A stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. The purpose? One last hurrah, an overwhelming final orgy of gyration and satisfaction to commemorate a career in male entertainment. Along the way, several pit stops and various new characters make for several laughs and well-written exchanges. In particular, a gas station striptease, which may very well be my favorite scene.
Just as in the first film, the stripping and general horseplay present here are both never exploitative, instead rather endearing and light-hearted. With the blistering exuberance in every frame, it’s all such a pleasure to watch. Making women feel appreciated is the main goal, and it’s achieved swiftly several times, then promptly celebrated. Women of all body types, too, which is a nice aspect. The entire runtime exudes positive energy, to the point of each character in the film treating practically everybody with respect and friendliness. Speaking of which, there’s practically no conflict. Seriously. There’s no grand prize at the stripper convention, there are no rival strippers, there’s just extravagant fun and individuals enjoying each other’s company. These same properties can also be found in the parties that our lead characters frequent, making Magic Mike XXL not only a great time, but likely the most resoundingly good-intentioned embodiment of a party we’ve seen on film in recent memory.
Channing Tatum delivers his jokes and pelvic thrusts with outstanding charisma, being the life of the party that is the film itself.
In terms of performances, there’s many fantastic ones to highlight. Channing Tatum delivers his jokes and pelvic thrusts with outstanding charisma, being the life of the party that is the film itself. Jada Pinkett-Smith finds a way to dominate the screen and command all attention, masterfully utilizing the unbelievably strong regality found in her writing. Each member of the posse nails their character’s respective quirks with a flourish, from Matt Bomer to Joe Manganiello, which allows everyone a moment to shine. With the individuality they all have, there’s much potential for several set-ups to have incredibly gratifying payoffs, and they definitely do. Whether a running joke or internal debate, they’re where the film’s narrative lies. It’s neither linear, nor non-linear, but not the opposite of either. There’s a wonderful precedent this sets for studio films, to be unique and whatever they want to be. Magic Mike XXL feels like being its own thing, and it boldly pursues that, holding firmly but never limiting itself.
Magic Mike XXL is a tidal wave of ecstasy, a force to be reckoned with that grips you with its gleeful optimism. Hey, apprehensive straight male crowd, make the right choice.
Magic Mike XXL is a tidal wave of ecstasy, a force to be reckoned with that grips you with its gleeful optimism.