By Anna Verhaegen
Edited by Anthony Zangrillo
Break out your glitter and assless chaps, Magic Mike is back in town. The film follows the gang of male entertainers for one last buddy-road trip to the 2015 Stripper Convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. It showcases the ever “ab-ulous” Channing Tatum and Joe Manganiello, while including some surprise performers like Donald Glover and Andie Macdowell. Note that Matthew Mcconaughey does not make an appearance in this sequel (when approached, I’m pretty sure he clutched his Oscar and drawled the dead opposite of his classic, “alright, alright, alright”).
The film was a surprisingly clever mix of comedy, drama, and dance. I went into Magic Mike XXL expecting to laugh a lot and poke fun at the silliness of it all. And don’t get me wrong, I definitely did, but I wasn’t expecting the film to be so in on the joke. The humor was self-aware and full of pop culture references. The dancing was entertaining and, honestly, pretty impressive at times.
The movie dragged at the beginning while setting up its characters. This flaw extended the running time to a whopping 1 hour 55 minutes. Though the movie is almost 90% male objectification, the writers want you to know that they are not just hunky man-popsicles. They have feelings too. The only problem is that too few of the dancers actually experience a full character arc. This leaves the viewer confused, which only sort of counts as emotional engagement, and was definitely not the aim of the filmmakers. After all, the glitter is there to attract the light, not to make us reflect.
So, if you’re expecting anything more than an audience-pandering romp, you may want to sit this one out. If you’re looking for a girl’s night out movie complete with nudity and drugs, this is the right flick. If you enjoy watching shirtless strippers toss girls around like they’re trying to get a bug out of a sweater, run– don’t walk — to the nearest theatre. Bottom line (and there are many bottoms, both in thong and out), it’s a fun movie as long as you know what you’re getting into.