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Magic Mike XXL

Magic Mike XXL

Released 3 July 2015
Director Gregory Jacobs

Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, Amber Heard, Donald Glover, Stephen Boss, Michael Strahan, Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Banks, Jada Pinkett Smith
Writer(s) Reid Carolin

Nick Wechsler, Gregory Jacobs, Channing Tatum, Reid Carolin
Origin United States
Running Time 115 minutes
Genre Comedy, drama, music
Rating 16

Impractical magic.

Magic Mike was one of those films that surprised everyone; a tale of male strippers by Steven Soderbergh that dispensed with gratuitous thrusting in favour of a morality tale examining the highs and lows of life as a “male entertainer.” Wrong-footed film critics everywhere were effusive in their praise - too effusive if you ask me. Magic Mike was rather too po-faced for its own good, its moral lessons hardly original and its colour palette irritatingly sepia. No doubt, these same critics will be up in arms about the sequel, a full-on dance movie which has the emotional depth of a teaspoon. If you ask me though, Magic Mike XXL doesn’t deserve a mauling - it may be shallow but it’s also bloody good fun.

At the beginning of the film we reconnect with Mike (Channing Tatum), three years after he left the stripping industry to focus on making custom furniture. This entrepreneur dream has turned into an unsatisfying slog and when his former stripping friends show up in the neighbourhood on their way to a convention in Myrtle Beach, Mike downs tools and joins them for one last gig.

Plot-wise, that’s about it. The film is basically a rather picaresque road movie, its many dance routines separated by  bizarre vignettes that our pretty but dumb heroes seem to stumble into. Needless to say, it’s all very silly but it’s also rather sweet. This group of muscled lotharios have the enthusiasm and energy of a basket full of puppies. They bound along from episode to episode with confused looks on their faces, looking for the next face to lick or leg to hump. The dance sequences themselves are utterly ridiculous - in a good way. I chuckled along as game female extras were thrown around like spinning tops and as the mortified cast attempt their best “sexy” pouts. Tatum is the only one of the crew who can dance and from his impromptu workshop routine to the gymnastic finale he is fantastic to watch.

I’ve heard Magic Mike XXL compared to one gigantic hen party but despite the emphasis on screaming women and thrusting, the comparison doesn’t hold up. If you’ve ever been to a hen party you’ll know it’s one long act of desperation to have saucy fun, despite the fact that you’ve been forced to wear a feather boa and you’re in work at 9 the next morning. Magic Mike XXL is much more enjoyable; a sequin-clad road movie in which nobody takes themselves even remotely seriously.

- Linda O’Brien