Last night I was offered three options by my Girlfriend on what we should watch, option 1) Magic Mike XXL, Option 2) Game of Thrones or Option 3) Something else of my choosing. Being the Good boyfriend that I am I opted to watch Magic Mike XXL with her, but now I’m just wondering just how to claim back the two hours and ten minutes that this film stole from my life.
Let me start off by saying, I have seen the first Magic mike and whist it was before I began to review films, it would have rated higher than this one, yes its aimed mainly at a female audience which is fine, but at least it had a plot of sorts for the male audience too.
Mike (Channing Tatum) has been out of the male entertainment game for three years and now runs a small company but is unfulfilled by his life, longing for the glory days of exotic dancing. This is until he gets a voicemail from his old buddy Tarzan informing him that Dallas is “Gone” (No doubt Dallas took a look at the script and decided it best to disappear).
Soon Mike is reunited with his former colleagues that include Tarzan, Ken, Richie and Tito amongst a few others as he re-joins the world of exotic dancing, headed to a stripper convention where they plan to have one great final show together. This is where XXL turns into a road trip movie, but no one seemed to tell director Gregory Jacobs that road trip movies only tend to work if they include wacky antics along the way. Somehow a van full of middle aged strippers having a chat for the first half of the film just doesn’t work (Side note, even my girlfriend was getting bored by this stage).
We have an unnecessary moment in the van where a couple of mobile phones are thrown out the window because the plotless plot needed it, even though it is never mentioned or followed up in any way again.
Mike and his buddies stop off and camp at the beach for the evening, where Mike meets a girl in an unusual way. This girl begins taking pictures of Mike from behind as he pee’s, which must happen to male entertainers all the time as he seems pretty cool about it and the two exchange details (when I do that I get a warning – double standards!)
Back on the road in their frozen yogurt van and the story needs a twist, so whist sitting on the food preparation areas (Gross), it’s suddenly deemed a good idea to hand out drugs to everyone. The driver declines but then swaps with a guy who has taken a “Molly” and proceeds to crash the van. With the driver injured they decide to leave him in hospital and continue on with their journey. It’s suggested that they hire a rental car but Mike has a better idea as he happens to know someone who lives in the area (Of course he does, why wouldn’t he – what convenient place to crash).
Mike takes the crew to a place where he used to dance and is owned by his ex-girlfriend Rome (Jada Smith), the two exchange frosty pleasantries and it turns out the two haven’t seen each other for eight years, so you can imagine her annoyance when he strolls back in and has the audacity to ask for help.
Rather than say no and send them packing, as with all matters in the male entertainment world things are settled through the medium of sexy dance! Soon not only do they have a car but they also have their own personal driver to boot (This added a very unnecessary 20 minutes to the film because Mike didn’t want to pay for a rental car! Jeez Mike it would have been like $20 each).
Back on the road again and more scenes filled with will middle aged stripper chat, but soon it’s time to stop off again (Even I’m getting impatient stripping by this point) as the crew just stroll into the home of the girl Mike met on the beach ….. they actually just walk in! like it’s a normal thing to do!
They slightly startle the girl’s mother and friends before the girl makes an appearance to explain who they are, but there is no need by this point as the mother is practically throwing her underwear at them as she pours them each a glass of wine.
More idol chit chat, more flirting before we cut to the next morning, it’s now at this point Mike and his crew are sat in a strangers kitchen helping themselves to all their food, before Richie announces he had sex with the mother.
The mother then casually hands over car keys to her new lover and the crew all jump into her Bentley, continuing their journey to the convention (It can’t be more than ten minutes after they have left before she comes to her senses and realises that these men walked into her home, drank all of her expensive wine, had their way with her, ate all of her food and took her car and calls the police!)
We finally get to the arena where the convention is being held and it turns out they didn’t even book a spot! These people, spent several days traveling (and stealing) to get here and not one of them had the foresight to book their place! (Maybe if they didn’t throw their phones out the window they could have called ahead?)
Mike’s best attempts to sway the booker falls on deaf ears as he “Has been out of the game for too long” (Who knew that stripping had a time limit in-between gigs). Conveniently enough Rome shows up and sways the booker because the writers have just given up at this point. The Booker then proceeds to put them into “the money spot” assumingly bumping everyone else who actually booked ahead. Rome then proceeds to upgrade all of their rooms, plus books them an area to rehearse too (Seriously who are these people and why do they keep getting free things!).
Its montage time now as the crew rehearse for the big show, here we are treated to sewing, dancing and even see big Tarzan playing with glitter and glue as the others all lean over his shoulders with approving smiles (Its lovely Tarzan, we will put that on the fridge).
Finally it’s time for the big show and its mixed bag here, half the show is more comedy than it is sexy and the final half is a combination of street dance but with less clothes and a lot more simulated sex. I always thought the art of stripping was meant to be very much look but don’t touch, but Tatum’s dance with a couple of ladies pretty much turns into borderline assault, practically slamming their heads into the floor whilst thrusting his tallywacker in their faces.
We come to our final scene as the crew gather outside in a moment that was stolen from oceans eleven, all stood side by side around a fountain, looking into the distance with smirks on their faces as if to say “we did it boys” thankfully the credits start to roll putting an end to this nonsense!
Magic Mike XXL has no plot; it’s lazy and just isn’t thought through. The crew all sit around and moan about how they wish things were better in their lives despite getting free cars, food, hotel upgrades, money literally thrown at them and have the magic ability to waltz into people homes and seduce them. I can’t even ask for an extra packet of ketchup at McDonalds without getting a dirty look, so these guys have no right to complain!
It’s just not realistic in any sense at all, but perhaps that’s just from the male perspective you may think? Nope even my partner thought it was absolute rubbish and she’s never wrong (Isn’t that right dear).
Magic Mike XXL does provide some humour but a lot of it is unintentional, sadly its lack of direction, gaping plot holes and excessively pointless dialog make this hard to watch. Having said that, there is nothing wrong with the acting, each character does their job, it’s just a shame in-between their muttering and repetitive nonsense, the characters have zero personality.
Tarzan (Kevin Nash) always seemed like an odd choice to be in these films, anyone familiar with Nash’s in ring career knows how limited he is due to his past injury’s (most notably tearing his quad clean off the bone) so to put him in a film amongst athletic dancers just looks odd, but if Big Nash is good at anything, its collecting a pay check without having to do very much.
Magic Mike XXL had a production budget of just under 15 million dollars and grossed a total 122.5 million at the box office which makes this a huge success for everyone involved. But despite this success it would appear that another sequel is doubtful, as Tatum has gone on record saying he would not return again (But everyone has a price!)
I admit this has been more of a rant than a review but this is just a ridiculous mess of a film that builds up for a long time and fails to reward your patience. The majority of dances are decent, it’s the film that has no rhythm.
So out of a possible five stars, Magic Mike XXL gains:
One star for being so bad it’s almost good and another star for the absence of Matthew McConaughey (Every film should get a bonus star for absence of Matthew McConaughey)
Thank you for reading