Director Gregory Jacobs, tasked with the job of following Steven Soderberg’s original hit (shot under the name Peter Andrews), uses a paper-thin storyline to push a production that features, for the main part, a group of semi-unclothed hunks with magnificent bodies dry-humping their way around the dance floor.
The dance routines are monotonous and lacking in creativity and the head hunk, Channing Tatum, re-creating his original role of dancer/stripper Mike Lane, is plain dull, exuding as much charisma as your average oak tree. Magic Mike XXL is back for another shot at success after three years and is again written by Reid Carolin, and still based on the memories of its producer and star Tatum, who was once a teen stripper in Florida.
What this film sorely lacks is a genuine sense of thrills and excitement unless you buy into the belief that the screaming, obsessed hordes of young women many throwing dollar bills at their heroes, are really having a whale of a time. The way these men carry on would be considered demeaning if nubile young women were stripping, but in this case it’s considered romantic and fun.
Mike has decided that he needs a break from running his small business in Tampa which makes designer chairs and dressers and links up with a crew of old buddies who are hitting the road for a dance/stripping convention in Myrtle Bay, South Carolina.
So he goes along and enjoys the explicit side show that occurs along the way as the men beef up for a night of fun and games. In one short episode at a wealthy homestead we meet an ageing Andie McDowell who lusts with cougar ferocity after one of the heroes. The various characters, who are supposed to supply the dynamics, are a mixed bunch, but one never gets to know them terribly well. Their plan is to re-think the male burlesque by discarding silly pouches and fireman costumes and adding a bit of hip-hop vocals.
This film has no intellectual depth and the interesting Dallas, played with vim by Matthew McConaughey in the original, is gone. All in all, this film is unashamedly aimed at the chick flick
brigade and as a mere man I may not understand the full ramifications of this – as one over-enthusiastic female reviewer pointed out to me at the end.