Mike is back and with more magic in his pelvis to keep you going for two hours plus.
Having left the nightlife, Mike now manages his own furniture business working day and night ambling along keep his company afloat. He puts in a hard graft often returning to his apartment late at night, and, alone with no girlfriend in sight.
One day he receives a call which takes him by surprise. It’s his former stripper crew The Kings of Tampa and they’re in town.
Mike meets them in a motel room accompanied by mad women and crazy day-time partygoers, giving Mike a taste of the life he left behind. His crew inform him that they’re entering one last convention before throwing the towel in. Mike isn’t convinced and leaves his former buddies stunned as to why he bothered leaving without saying a word the first time around.
Back at home Mike works relentlessly, but when his old stripping tune ‘Pony,’ by Genuwine comes on, he’s soon sliding across his workshop bench, and grinding his groin upon his apparatus like he used to on stage. It reignites a passion which has been laying dormant inside of him, and it’s enough to make him rejoin his buddies for one last ride and enter the Myrtle Beach convention.
Needless to say the guys are in better shape than ever. Beefier. Even Tarzan appears buffer and that’s a statement giving his impressive attributes before.
The Kings of Tampa have a stronger bond which comes across on screen, characters have matured and have more dimension as we see Ken, Tito, Big Dick Richie, Tarzan and Mike contemplate what they’ll do after the shows over.
Magic Mike XXL is a strippers road trip movie infused with enough teases, heat and intense grind. If you thought a night with the Chippendales was satisfying, then this movie delivers five times more.
Jada Pinkett Smith provides us with a touch of femininity dazzling the audience with her inner Empress, a strong madam-character by the name of Rome who Mike turns to for help with their final show. Rome houses talent in a mansion, a palace where exotic male dancers entertain a female members only clientele. It’s here Mike calls on Rome for a favour, he’s in need of inspiration and dancers, the creme de la creme of stripper talent which luckily Rome has to offer.
Director Gregory Jacobs takes the movie into a different realm, one which pays homage to African American and Latino culture by celebrating the art of breakdancing and black street dance. Jacobs focuses on dancers Stephen ‘tWitch’ Boss, Michael Strahan and Donald Glover to show just where whining, grinding and body isolation originated.
In one scene Mike gazes at Rome’s talents admiringly as they dance, cajoling women like you’ve never seen before, using hypnotic and gyrating rhythms to seduce them with their bodies, leaving little to the imagination.
Jacobs does as much as he can to prove his point, and perhaps pay his respects, but the scenes in Rome’s palace linger on too much that it almost feels like the tone of the film has changed in an effort to be overly PC.
It’s enough that Pinkett’s character addresses Mike as ‘white chocolate,’ we get the point.
When the boys visit a houseful of wealthy housewives, the dialogue is cringeworthy even if performances from Andie MacDowell as a Southern cougar stand up against the wasted minutes and soppy chemistry between the cast. The point of the scene is to unite two characters, but the run up to this is lumbersome.
Other regretful scenes and a blatant PR stunt include a conversation where singer Andre speaks to Ken about how humble beginnings began and what he’s done so far in his musical career. This conversation is yet another moment where you just wonder why this scene was put in, they could’ve got to the ‘we’re like healers,’ line a lot quicker.
There’s no doubt that the Kings of Tampa have been reborn, choreography is innovative, fiercer and each character dances like a professional. There are no more firemen, cops and cowboys, Magic Mike XXL starts afresh, from a new and creative perspective. The acts are stronger, and whilst you feel like you’ve seen it all in the first quarter of the movie, the boys have so much more to give. Especially Big Dick Richie who performs a mouth gaping solo in a petrol station to ‘I want it that way,’ by the Backstreet Boys, a song which after his striptease, you’ll never listen in the same way again. And this is before the convention finale.
Magic Mike XXL is an enjoyable film which delivers beyond what you’d expect from a stripper road trip movie because the dancing is mesmerising and the sexual camaraderie, a ranching tease. It’s definitely worth treating like a night out with the girls, but it also celebrates women who embrace sexual liberation, and men who encourage this in a respectful manner.
Magic Mike XXL is out now.