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Movie Review: Magic Mike XXL
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Adam Frazier   |  @   |  
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Magic Mike XXL Movie Review

Magic Mike XXL
Director: Gregory Jacobs
Screenwriter: Reid Carolin, Channing Tatum
Cinematographer: Steven Soderbergh
Cast: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias, Jada Pinkett-Smith
Warner Bros. Pictures
Rated R | 115 Minutes
Release Date: July 1, 2015

“Are you ready to be worshipped?”

Magic Mike XXL is something of a cinematic anomaly. What makes Gregory Jacobs‘ film so unique is that it works as bro-centric male fantasy and erotic female wish fulfillment. It’s the movie both Entourage and Fifty Shades of Grey aspire to, but are woefully unequipped to be.

Written by Reid Carolin and Channing Tatum, Magic Mike XXL picks up three years after the end of Magic Mike. After leaving the stripper spotlight to start his own business, “Magic” Mike Lane (Tatum) has traded one grind for another. The custom furniture business isn’t exactly booming, and the girl he thought was the one wasn’t.

Meanwhile, the remaining Kings of Tampa are planning one last blow-out performance, but they need the legendary Magic Mike as their headliner. Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, and Kevin Nash, along with their emcee (Gabriel Iglesias), recruit Mike for one last ride: a road trip to a Myrtle Beach stripper convention where they’ll drown in a tsunami of dollars.

Along the way, the boys make stops in Jacksonville and Savannah, where they hook up with old acquaintances like Rome (Jada Pinkett-Smith) and meet new friends like Zoe (Amber Heard) and Nancy (Andie MacDowell). The cast is rounded out with appearances by Donald Glover, Stephen “tWitch” Boss, Michael Strahan, and Elizabeth Banks.

Magic Mike XXL would be kind of like Old School if Will Ferrell, Vince Vaughn, and Luke Wilson were ripped strippers who could satisfy a woman’s every need. While the first film is a dark, existential drama in the guise of a salacious stripper flick, the sequel is a fun-loving, freewheeling sex comedy. Tatum and director Gregory Jacobs make an effort to give audiences what they want: a no-strings-attached good time.

Jacobs has served as Steven Soderbergh’s go-to first assistant director for over twenty years. He’s worked with Soderbergh on nearly every film in the director’s filmography, including Erin Brockovich, Traffic, Behind the Candelabra, and Magic Mike. Like Soderbergh, Jacobs has worked on big-budget Hollywood films as well as art-house independent films, and it’s that versatility that makes Magic Mike XXL so unique – it works as both.

With Soderbergh contributing as cinematographer and editor, Magic Mike XXL retains the look and feel of its predecessor while straying away from melodrama and focusing on unabashed entertainment. It’s an incredibly diverse and sex-positive movie too, with bodies of all different shapes, sizes, and colors spreading the love around.

Obviously, the target audience for Magic Mike XXL is comprised of women and gay men with their sights set on ogling hot, half-naked men – and more power to ’em! If the rowdy crowd I saw the film with is any indication, Magic Mike XXL is going to make a lot of money. I thought the ladies behind me were going to make it rain with dollar bills during one of the film’s – ahem – climactic dance numbers.

I hope straight guys (i.e., dudes, bros) see the film too though – because it’s wildly entertaining and who knows, you might just learn a thing or two! Sure it’s a raunchy stripper movie, but there’s invaluable insight on what women really want – and the answers might surprise you. If you’re looking for an escape from dinosaurs and superheroes this summer, Magic Mike XXL promises a satisfying ride.

Trailer

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