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‘Magic Mike XXL’ Review: Starring Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello & Matt Bomer

In 2012 when Magic Mike was released, director Steven Soderbergh and Channing Tatum knew they had created an interesting, hilarious and sexy film loosely based on Tatum’s real-life as a male stripper. Unfortunately Soderbergh did not return to direct the sequel, but did the cinematography instead so Magic Mike XXL still has that Soderbergh look, but not the Soderbergh storytelling. With the exception of a few scenes throughout the film, Magic Mike XXL is a far less and unnecessary sequel to its predecessor. And then there is that Joe Manganiello mini-mart scene that is pretty much everything.

It’s been three years since Mike (Channing Tatum) retired from the male stripping business. He’s living his dream by running his own furniture company in Tampa, FL. But when his old stripper buddies Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tarzan (Kevin Nash) and Tito (Adam Rodriguez) ask him to tag along for a male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach, Mike decides it would be good to reconnect with his old buddies and have some fun.


There’s absolutely no story worth telling here in Magic Mike XXL and if the film actually gave the fans what they wanted (all dancing/stripping scenes) it may have been worthwhile. The first 30 or so minutes do nothing and show us what we already know had happened; Mike left the stripper game in the dust to pursue his furniture company while his buddies went down to Miami. The scenes are overlong and just plain boring. There is also a scene that introduces Zoe (Amber Heard), Mike’s new love interest, and it has to be one of the worst lit scenes of all time. What a disservice to the talented Heard.

There are only a few things reminiscent of the first Magic Mike, including Tatum perform again to his famous “Jump” solo scene, but if anything is fantastic about this sequel it’s because of Joe Manganiello and Matt Bomer. Matt Bomer has so much more screen time and is actually able to give Ken a character this time around. Without giving anything too crucial away, there are a few times where Bomer sings and it will melt the hearts of anyone watching. Without a doubt the absolute best scene in the movie is Manganiello dancing in a mini-mart trying to impress the girl behind the counter and it’s so over the top and fun that the next film should be a spinoff just about his character!

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There are a couple more new supporting actors including Andie MacDowell, who plays a Southern divorcee who welcomes the guys into her home. There’s also Stephen “Twitch” Boss, who doesn’t have any lines, but is a new addition to the team of strippers as they head down to Myrtle Beach. Though despite having no lines in the film, Boss is clearly an amazing dancer and has one of the best scenes in the film near the end where he and Tatum mirror each other while dancing on stage. Then there’s Jada Pinkett Smith, who plays Rome, an old flame of Mike’s who agrees to be their MC at the stripper convention and she is absolutely hilarious and says the word “Queen” multiple times so props to her for that!

What Magic Mike XXL needed was a much better screenplay that had more fluidity. Instead, we are given only a handful of amazing dance performances linked together by Tatum’s newly awkward character (he was not awkward at all in the first film), long dialogue scenes on beaches and inside mansions, not giving the fans what they really wanted in this sequel.

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