October 22, 2015 · Reviewing · (No comments)

With its release on DVD closing in, we thought it was a good time to take a look at Magic Mike XXL and how jock strapped hunks diving, grinding, flipping and dry humping can be great entertainment.

Magic Mike XXL takes place three years after the original and broadens its scope in a lot of ways. As opposed to a small story about a group of male dancers at an oddly shy strip club, we get a slightly bigger cast and a tale of gorgeous men driving to South Carolina to compete at a stripper convention. While we prefer the intimacy of the original, we can’t deny not having a good time with this sequel. The road trip itself minimizes the possibility of stage dancing, but we get lots of hip swiveling in minimarts and around power tools in a shed. It’s all glorious and sweaty, with a pumping soundtrack. There are even a few flat out musical numbers, courtesy of new cast members Donald Glover and Matt Bomer.

While the movie may initially come across as fluffy and commercial, the truth is the script is intermittently brilliant. Screenwriter Reid Carolin has taken the elements of a life where one uses their body to make money to highlight our individual ability to find and appreciate beauty for its own sake. The movie sees how we use our bodies in many ways to bring pleasure, yet not letting us forget there are personalities behind them. After seeing the film, there is plenty to talk about besides thongs and abs, including subjects like gender politics and mixed races in the New South.

We credit the film’s exuberance to the game cast. With Channing Tatum leading the pack, everyone’s putting it out there to get us shimmying in our chairs. Besides eye candy like Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez, there’s Glover, Bomer and “So You Think You Can Dance” star Twitch. Familiar faces like Jada Pinkett-Smith, Andie McDowell and Elizabeth Banks show up. We especially like Crystal Hunt in the role of Lauren. A former soap opera actress with a huge Facebook following, Hunt also appeared in “Problem Child 2,” “Sydney White,” “23 Blast” and the video for “N.Y.C. Underground.” We hope to see more of her and soon.

Overall, we think Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL will make for a great double feature on the couch.