“Magic Mike XXL” Entertains To A Degree

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Channing Tatum returns for "Magic Mike XXL."

HOLLYWOOD—“Magic Mike,” it was the movie that created SO MUCH buzz back in 2012, it was no surprise the flick debuted to high numbers amongst female fans and gay males. Of course in the world of Hollywood, when a movie makes money a sequel is always a given.

Fast-forward to 2015, and we have the sequel “Magic Mike XXL.” The funny thing about “Magic Mike” is the fact that the first flick was quite entertaining. This is coming from the perspective of a heterosexual male. Its sequel which reunites Mike (Channing Tatum) and the rest of his crew: Big D**k Richie (Joe Manganiello), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash) as they go on a road trip.

Notably missing from the crew is Matthew McConaughey who portrayed the festive Dallas. Mike’s life has been quite different since deciding to hang up his stripper skills. When the rest of his buddies reunite with Mike, they travel to Myrtle Beach where they compete in an epic stripper convention. Yes, apparently these things are far more popular than one could imagine.

One thing that can be argued is that this movie has entertaining moments. There are sequences and dance moves that will literally have you laughing louder than you expected. Does the narrative hook you like an Oscar-contender, no, but come’on, who would expect such a thing heading into the theater to see a movie about stripping? It’s a far cry from “Showgirls,” which is a great thing.

While the ladies will love seeing the Tatum, Manganiello, Bomer, Rodriguez, and a host of others strip down to their skivvies, the guys will be pleased that this flick presents a bit more female power than its predecessor. Jada Pinkett Smith is a delight as Rome, a woman from Mike’s past who has made a living ensuring the pleasure of African-American women at the hands of male strippers including newcomers Donald Glover, Michael Strahan and Stephen Boss.

There is also Zoe (Amber Heard), a photographer who happens to garner the eye of Mike. I will admit it’s apparent that this is to be the relationship of the movie, but it never delivers that level of romance that some may have been eager to see develop. Perhaps in a funnier role is Andie MacDowell, who portrays a debutante that gives into her inhibitions and gets treated to a fun time thanks to Mike and the rest of his friends. Also in a role that isn’t as hammed up as it could be is Elizabeth Banks playing hostess at this convention. For a woman who is known for delivering laughs, you expect a bit more from her.

The sequel which was helmed by Gregory Jacobs provides the viewers with some fun, but not much depth compared to what Steven Soderbergh did with the first flick. I’ll admit watching “Magic Mike” I didn’t think I was watching a stripper tale. Watching “Magic Mike XXL” it was quite apparent this was a flick all about stripping and only stripping.

“Magic Mike XXL” is no borefest, but it doesn’t reach beyond what the first flick did. The ladies of course will love the flick a bit more than their male counterparts. So if your wife or girlfriend wants to drag you to see the movie, be warned they’ll be entertained and you’ll just have to endure.