Movie Review: Magic Mike XXL (2015)

imageGregory Jacobs’ Magic Mike XXL (C+) takes a long time to get to the money shot: twenty minutes of wish fulfillment by a sextet of reunited male strippers in the form of some crazy cool choreography. The film mostly meanders through road trip, “let’s put on a show,” and several other genres before it lands on a “let’s just give ’em what they want” finale. Despite the perfunctory nature of most of this episodic trek, it is a mild improvement over its more pedigreed predecessor thanks largely to standout performances by Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello as the one lured back in and the one reinventing himself, respectively. A trio of female performers – Jada Pinkett Smith, Andie MacDowell and Elizabeth Banks – also imbue the festivities with a bit of subtext that makes the activities seem a bit more easy and less sleazy. Although not directed by Steven Soderbergh this time around, that director stays involved under a pseudonym as director of photography. It’s still unclear why he’s involved in this franchise which always seems like a documentary of the same subject with these fun actors would be more entertaining than what ultimately ends up on screen. Some of the activities simply seem directed by the party drug Molly. Still, after not much happens for most of the film’s duration as the gaggle of go-gos travel to Myrtle Beach for a stripper showcase, their final dances have a mild Wizard of Oz quality as they vanquish their vulnerabilities.

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