MAGIC MIKE XXL Review — Stripped Down to the Bare Essentials

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Magic Mike XXL ReviewThis “Hunks on Parade” sequel never claims to be any more than exactly what it is: a huge, glossy jar of eye candy for the ladies, and for some gents as well. Music, muscles and musk–absolutely perfect for a bawdy girls’ night out.

This time around the stripper pole we find our manly meat puppets mostly out of work and at odds. It’s three years since the first Magic Mike, and the emcee, played in the original by Matthew McConaughey, has flown the coop. Although his role in the first film was critically acclaimed, you can hardly expect an Academy Award winner to return as a supporting cast member in a film about male exotic dancing.

Channing Tatum’s character, the titular and mercurial Mike, is making a meager living crafting furniture, providing an amusing opportunity for an impromptu dance routine involving a drill and welding sparks. Cue the shrieks.

The gang, which includes Joe Mangienello (soon to be Mr. Sofia Vergara), Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Gabriel Iglesias and Matt Bomer, most buffed to perfection, decide to make one last road trip to attend a male stripper convention. So they all board a food truck (no one else seems to have a more suitable vehicle) and head for the beach. Along the way they hook up with a society mom played by Andy McDowell, and a new emcee, played by Jada Pinkett Smith, who’s even better than McConaughey. She calls all the randy women in the house “Queens” and focuses on the queen-sized (or XXL?) ladies. It’s nice to see them celebrated for a change.

As you can imagine, sexy hijinks ensue throughout, but I kind of wish more sexy hygiene would have ensued as well, because these guys are constantly grubby, wearing stretched out and tattered clothes, greasy hair, and buckets of sweat. I couldn’t help but wonder if the guys’ fingers are just too beefy to slip quarters into a laundromat slot. It made me infinitely glad that smell-o-vision is not a thing yet.

The film would have been quite different, and probably a lot more intriguing, if a female had been at the helm — or perhaps Steven Soderbergh, who so adroitly directed the original. Instead, Gregory Jacobs directs for the first time, after having produced a number of Channing Tatum films, including Side Effects and Haywire. While he doesn’t quite have the ladies’ tastes down, the film is still good, dirty fun for a hot summer night.

Rated R

1 Hour 55 Minutes

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MAGIC MIKE XXL Review — Stripped Down to the Bare Essentials

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Lisa Johnson Mandell

Lisa Johnson Mandell is an award winning journalist, author and film/TV critic. She can be heard regularly on Cumulus radio stations throughout the US, and seen on Rotten Tomatoes. She is the author of three bestselling books, and spends as much of her free time as possible with her husband Jim and her jolly therapy Labradoodle Frankie Feldman.


  1. […] a serious surprise from the very beginning, when we see veteran Army Ranger Jackson Briggs (Channing Tatum) writhing in agony on the floor by the side of his bed. Beginning a “comedy” with a […]

  2. MAGIC MIKE'S LAST DANCE Review — Buffalicious! on February 10, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    […] Well…maybe it does, but let’s get real here—no one expects scintillating dialogue or an intriguing, twisty plot from a frothy movie about male strippers. Spoiler alert: they hardly strip. However — they do titillate in a lovely way, and isn’t that why someone pays to see a Magic Mike movie? […]

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