Sequel stripped everything down, including the plot

Thanks to Roadshow Films we had the chance to see Gregory Jacob‘s ‘Magic Mike XXLat the Australian Arena Premiere with another lucky 5,000 guests before its cinematic release. This is our review of the film, but – as usual – no matter what we say, we recommend that you still go to your local cinema and see the film because there is no better critic than yourself.

The sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike (2012) has arrived three years later and gives us a chance to catch up with the boys.

magic-mike-xxl-still-5Mike (Channing Tatum) is struggling to grow his own furniture business while he nurses a broken heart after his relationship with Joanna hasn’t worked out. He gets a call from Tarzan (Kevin Nash) saying that Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) has died. Mike rushes to meet with the gang: Tito (Adam Rodriguez), BDR (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer) and Tobi (Gabriel Iglesias). Upon his arrival, however, Mike discovers that it’s all been a set up, so the guys could see him. It turns out that Dallas has just left them to try his luck with his protégée, Adam, in Macau.

The old Tampa gang, without their sorely missed MC, has decided to retire. But before they do, they plan to reunite one more time to perform at the Annual Stripper Convention in Myrtle Beach. Soon enough, Mike figures out how much he misses dancing: he hears a song on the radio that makes him dance at his workstation (ladies will love this hot scene of Tatum). So he decides to give it another go and rejoins his old pals on a crazy road trip to make the ultimate strip show at the convention.

magic-mike-xxl-still-1After a bit of male bonding and nonsensical babbling on the road, the gang decides to create a new routine in order to avoid the stereotypical Fireman-Cop show, in order to bring their dancing skills to a new level and highlight their passion. This follows one of the funniest and most memorable scenes in the movie, set in a MiniMart and featuring Joe Manganiello.

Magic Mike XXL is a plotless film that returns to bring the audience more dancing scenes, naked male bodies and many more sexy moves than they saw in the first movie. Certainly, this film has been made for women. The new characters played by Jada Pinkett-Smith, Andy McDowell and Elizabeth Banks try to add a touch of feminism, without much success.

magic-mike-xxl-still-2Jada Pinkett-Smith plays Mike’s ex-lover/employer who runs a club of black male strippers. Her character is almost identical to her role of ‘Fish’ in the hit TV series ‘Gotham’, showing little diversity in her choice of parts. Still, she does a decent job as the guys’ MC at the convention. McDowell and Banks’ roles are minor, and while the former contributes something to the story, the latter’s feels like an unnecessary character.

Magic Mike XXL’s central problem is its lack of character and script development. New actors are introduced, about whom viewers discover very little, while some romantic sub-plots are forced into the story without being properly developed. The script is extremely basic, and is far from what the first film delivered, which was a more indie kind of film with a fresh story, which, despite being targeted to female viewers, also appealed to a male audience. Unfortunately the sequel is just an excuse to show gratuitous skin and sexy dance moves, pretty much making the film a solid 2-hour hens’ night video.

magic-mike-xxl-still-3Overall, Magic Mike XXL is a movie targeted to a female audience. It’s a perfect chick-at-the-flicks movie, as you are in for a treat of man candy. Don’t expect a story, plot twists or interesting characters. This is simply a visual treat, featuring sculpted abs and sexy men showing what they’ve got, making the sequel sexier and hotter with a mind-blowing finale by these male entertainers that is sure to see you throwing some bills at the screen. Unless you are a guy who was dragged to the cinema by your partner…we feel your pain, mate!

Magic Mike XXL opens in cinemas 9 July 2015

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