Glenn doesn't have any friends yet.
Magic Mike XXL (2015)IT'S RAINING MEH - My Review of MAGIC MIKE XXL (2 1/2 Stars)… More IT'S RAINING MEH - My Review of MAGIC MIKE XXL (2 1/2 Stars) Stripping itself, literally, of any true narrative momentum, MAGIC MIKE XXL is a strangely inert, forgettable, yet oddly enjoyable tribute to the gaze in all its forms. Unlike its predecessor, which allowed the economic downturn to drive decisions, this summer sequel has stakes so low that the biggest question isn't "Will they win the big Stripper Convention?" or "Will they be able to pay their bills?" With no prize to be heard of and money not an issue, this film merely asks, "Will they enjoy their time together?" For many, especially with the hefty heaping of skin on display, that will be enough. For me, it reminded me of a lesson I learned in journalism class back in college. When reporting on an event, it was not enough to write, "They all laughed and had a good time." Specifics, drama, tension, or barriers must be provided. With only a couple of minor obstacles along the way, MAGIC MIKE XXL is part road movie, part SPRING BREAKERS, part NASHVILLE, all there to illustrate that nothing matters more in life than being with your friends. I don't disagree with that premise, but as a piece of storytelling, it gets old really fast. Still, Channing Tatum, who created the characters with screenwriter Reid Carolin and who based it on his former career, has enough charm and magnetism as Mike to get you to stay at his party for however long he wants you there. Despite a story as slim as "the gang reunites to drive from Point A to Point B in order to perform one last time", there are many moments of audaciousness, joy and pure sexiness coming from male and female cast members alike. I defy anyone not to smile during Tatum's early dance in his furniture shop or Joe Manganiello's big set piece in a convenience store, moments destined to become as indelible as Jennifer Beals' FLASHDANCE audition scene or Kevin Bacon's FOOTLOOSE barn solo respectively. These moments set the stage for as our gang do a little vogueing at a drag show and learn how to channel their inner souls at an African American exclusive strip club. It's at the latter where we meet Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), a former flame of Mike's who joins the troupe as their MC, ably replacing Matthew McConaughey and adding a fierce female sexuality. Amber Heard brings a carnal, pansexual appeal to a thin role as a potential love interest to Mike. And MacDowell sells her cougar role just by looking at Manganiello. With their welcome presence, the MAGIC MIKE series goes from a scrappy, of-the-times tale of doing whatever it takes to get by to a celebration of community. That's not a bad thing, and for some, it will be a mesmerizing experience. Robert Altman's films elevated the mundane, and Steven Soderbergh, who used pseudonyms to act as cinematographer and editor while handing over the directing reins to his long-term assistant director, Gregory Jacobs, has based much of his career on achieving Altman's deceptively throwaway vibe. Personally, that tone works best when there are larger issues underneath the surface. If you're content with merely watching extremely attractive people do drugs, show their skin, laugh a lot, and proclaim their love for each other, then you're in the right place. Though tedious in its storytelling, I still acknowledge that this film has eye-popping moments galore. Just the sight of Matt Bomer being showered by dollar bills while a woman sits on top of him and gyrates was to witness a kind of hedonistic bliss. Same goes for Adam Rodriguez's Tito, who has little to do in this film, but damn if he doesn't know how to lick chocolate off a woman's thighs. The final act is one long strip show. No false dramatics. Nobody races to the airport or has to stick a landing in order to save their farm. It's just a series of fun numbers. With a great mirror routine that belongs on SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (no coincidence that Stephen "Twitch" Boss from that show performs it with Tatum) and culminates in Mike dry humping every inch of Heard's body, my personal favorite moment was something small in the distant corner of a shot. A female audience member, splayed out in a sling from an earlier dance, applauds another number...just chilling in front of a huge audience with her legs in the air. It's the little things! It perfectly encapsulates MAGIC MIKE XXL, a wistful, wispy, fluffy little nugget about nothing much in particular except for glances, sparks, and pecs.
28 days ago via Rotten Tomatoes