Magic Mike, that gorgeously oiled up, sleek and toned stripper played by the always gorgeous Channing Tatum, is back in the stripped down sequel, “Magic Mike XXL,” and the cheers of erotically overcharged women can be heard all the way from the back of the movie house.
Yes, women are cheering and well they should, as “Magic Mike XXL” delivers on its promise of delivering sexy guys in sexy stripteases, with ample doses of high good cheer thrown in. The plot, basically a skeleton for Tatum and his crew of stripper buddies (including the always fabulous Joe Manganiello) to hang some major strip numbers on, revolves around Tatum’s return for one last try at stripping after spending a few years in the furniture refurnishing business. It seems that Mike (Tatum) still yearns for the good times on stage, and now seems as good a time as any to reunite with his pals and achieve even greater stripper glory.
This version of the Magic Mike story is directed by Gregory Jacobs, but is also co-produced by Steven Soderbergh, who directed the first film. Still, there is plenty of entertainment value to be had in this version, which takes off at times in fits of sure dancing, stripping pleasure. The film hearkens back to the old time musicals, which were seemingly put together with minimal plotlines as an excuse to feature stars in highly entertaining production numbers. Of course, “Magic Mike XXL” delivers on its numbers with a much higher dose of wacky eroticism than we ever would have seen in musicals of yore.
Beyond the masculine attractions of “Magic Mike XXL” there are also many fine actresses on hand to keep things moving. Andie MacDowell (who first worked with Soderbergh in “Sex, Lies and Videotape” at the start of her career) is on hand as a sex-starved wife who’s ready to be entertained mightily by one of the guys, and Jada Pinkett Smith has great presence as the head of a strip nightclub.
Former Disney and “Guiding Light” soap star, the always lovely Crystal Hunt, has a featured role in the film as one of the many eccentric characters the guys meet on their stripper guy road trip. Hunt has blossomed greatly and has great presence as well in her role here, which is her first feature film in a long while, after spending many years working in television.
For those who love high comic hi jinks with a dose of musical eroticism, or for those ladies who just love looking at gorgeous guys going full on in strip numbers, there’s no question that “Magic Mike XXL” is the movie to see, enjoy, and scream through.