Magic Mike XXL

Magic Mike XXL

For a movie that contains next to no story – Magic Mike (Channing Tatum) decides to escape his struggling furniture business for a road trip with his former male entertainer buddies to a strippers convention – Magic Mike XXL manages to be a whole lot of fun. That’s because it’s a dance movie first and foremost, and it’s a sign of just how low that genre has sunk that pretty much all the reviews to date of MMXXL don’t seem to have mentioned it. While serious reviewers will happily check out a movie about male strippers, the likes of the Step Up series of dance movies remain largely (and in the case of at least a couple of them, unjustifiably) ignored. The first Step Up is where Tatum got his big screen start and he’s still got the moves here, whether it’s him reclaiming his dance mojo while at work (‘Pony’ comes on the radio, reminding him of the glory days) or showing he’s still got the right stuff in a plantation mansion that’s been turned into a ladies-only pleasure-dome by a madam out of Mike’s past (Jada Pinkett-Smith).
Half the fun here is the increasingly bizarre yet always fun (and often hilarious) dance routines; the other half is the way the guys – who are totally unselfconscious about their bodies and always ready to party – might have personal issues of their own but never let them get in the way of making the ladies feel good. Whether it’s a random convenience store clerk, the cougar-esque mother (Andie McDowell) of a hottie they met on a beach or the cheering crowds throwing bills at them on stage, these guys – and this film as a whole – is all about making the ladies feel special. Some might point out this just makes this film identical to a good strip act, nothing more; others might say that any film where a rival strip team puts on a Twilight-based show doesn’t have to apologise for anything to anyone.