By Megan Bianco
The sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike is given the amusing title Magic Mike XXL, not even bothering to be subtle about the film’s content or context. One criticism fans of the first smash-hit movie had three years ago was that there wasn’t enough skin for a movie that takes place at a male strip club.
This time around, there’s less plot, less drama, more comedy, more dancing and most of the same characters as the last time—but to just-passable quality.
After being convinced to join his former fellow male strippers, Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) leaves his construction gig for a road trip from Tampa to Myrtle Beach with Ken (Matt Bomer), Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) for a national strip competition. Along the way there are pranks, hook-ups with old and new flings and impromptu routines.
Donald Glover co-stars as a newbie stripper in Mike’s crew, and Amber Heard, Elizabeth Banks, Andie MacDowell and Jada Pinkett-Smith make appearances throughout the film. Soderbergh hands over the direction to Gregory Jacobs for the sequel and screenwriter Reid Carolin pens the script again, possibly the reason the tone is less gritty than before.
Because they focus primarily on character interaction and less on an actual storyline in XXL, there’s more dancing and grinding, but surprisingly less skin than the previous flick.
XXL isn’t any more necessary or memorable this time around, but it’s just enough for a group of girlfriends to experience for fun.