Big Screen :: Magic Mike XXL
July 13th 2015
Magic Mike XXL is almost revolutionary in how little substance it has.
This is a movie without a plot. There is no antagonist, no real conflict. The characters learn nothing, gain less, and end up basically where they started.
The premise seems simple: a bunch of strippers take to the road for a stripper convention. But even that goal is sort of cloudy… the stakes are barely there, they have nothing to prove, there’s no clear financial or professional incentive for them to perform, and the convention isn’t competitive. So why are they going? They just want to try out a new routine.
I was shocked by how little actually happens in this movie. It breaks almost every rule of screenwriting – and yet, it still kind of works.
It goes without saying that, as a straight guy, I am not the best qualified person to review this movie.
I feel a little bit like how I imagine a deaf guy would feel when reviewing a musical. I can appreciate the colour and the movement, but its real joys are lost on me. And that’s OK – it’s not made for me.
I made a point of bringing my friend Emma along in the interests of fairness, and she was very insistent that I mention that she thought it “delivered”. She wanted me to use that exact word. She was unable to further articulate what that meant precisely, and then said that I was an idiot for asking. She had this real intense look in her eyes, and after the film was acting kind of woozy and struggled to walk in a straight line. Read into that what you will.
The first Magic Mike was a sort of low-key character study that occasionally paused for some stripping. It was not what the ads made it look like, but I enjoyed it anyway. Magic Mike XXL is exactly what the ads make it look like, and that’s actually a good thing.
It’s a movie full of joy and love for its audience – and it’s kind of infectious.
These guys encounter women of all different shapes and races and ages and their only goal – in fact the movie’s only goal – is to make them feel beautiful and sexy and turned on. Often this involves taking their shirts off, flipping the lady upside down and sort of thrusting their crotch in her face. While it looks like they really enjoy this, I suspect it is a move that should only be attempted by professionals. I would really struggle to pull it off is what I am trying to say. And I doubt the recipient would enjoy it as much as when Channing Tatum does it.
Magic Mike XXL even really loves its male characters. They are kind of dim, but sweet and easygoing. They don’t want much, other than to make every woman that they meet happy. It’s this sweetness that makes the movie so easy to watch, because while it’s raunchy, it’s never sleazy. There is no sex or nudity, and all the stripping is playful. The only flaw is that, as I said before, there is literally nothing to it. But for most of the audience I saw it with, I got the impression that this was not an issue.
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