HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Magic Mike XXL
HTS Overall Score:70
I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I’ve laughed this long, this hard. By the end of “Magic Mike XXL” I was wiping tears from my cheeks and dealing with some seriously sore side muscles. Although, I wonder if that’s a good thing since the movie isn’t billed as a comedy, but rather a drama for all of the 40 year old housewives and divorcees. I remember poo pooing “Magic Mike” when it came out in 2012, but still ended up seeing it when my wife decided to check it out (after which she proceeded to rant about how terrible it was). I have to say it wasn’t half bad. Basically it was a reimagining of “Flashdance”, just with a male cast. A small town boy just wants to make it big and ends up being a male entertainer on stage. He has to deal with a jealous girlfriend, managers who want to take advantage of him, and the desire to make something of himself instead of just being a pretty face. It wasn’t a great movie, and the only thing it REALLY highlighted was Channing Tatum’s rock hard abs and dancing skills (well, there were a lot more rock hard abs than just Tatum’s). It won’t be some instant classic, but it was liveable and had some nice dramatic moments. Easily a 3/5 for me personally. “XXL” tries to up the ante a bit and pass itself off as “bigger and better”, but unfortunately just tries WAAAAAYYY too hard and ends up becoming almost a parody of itself.
“Magic” Mike has gotten out of the male entertainer business, trading in tight leather pants for a white T-shirt and jeans, running his own construction company. Working like a dog he really seems to enjoy himself, until one last wild ride comes his way in the form of his old dancing pals. Begging for Mike to bring a bit more of the magic back to the group, Richie (Joe M.) and the rest of the old troupe (minus Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer) do their best to bring him back into the fold for the last ride of the aging dancers. It’s the famous year end male entertainers convention and the boys want to go at it by themselves, after Dallas (Matt McConaughey) left them high and drive, in hopes of winning it big before they get too old and their bodies get too flabby for this type of stuff. Mike, of course, refuses, but it only takes one instance of Spotify playing his favorite stage song to get him to dive headlong into the fray.
Forgoing the whole “coming of age” and “star rising” plotlines of the first one, “Magic Mike XXL” takes more of a road trip take on the genre, letting the guys practice new material in random clubs, for a bunch of old women (helmed by a southern drawling Andie McDowell, going all cougar on us). Originally, Richie wants to use their old tried and true routines, but after their emcee (played by Gabriel Iglesias) gets in an auto accident, they are forced to change their toons, and enlist the help of Mike’s old flame, Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith, who seems to basically play her Fish Mooney character from “Gotham”…..just without all the killing), to teach these old dogs some new tricks. This all culminates on the giant male entertainer’s convention for a giant dance off between guys…uggggh.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54874[/img]“Magic Mike” was directed by famed director Steven Sodherberg, and consequently features his trademark introspective storytelling. This time the movie is shuffled off on his protégé, Gregory Jacobs, who tries his best to imitate his mentor. The problem is that the movie’s plot was already pretty thing back in 2012, and with a tighter budget and less capable hand at the helm, the movie tends to be a bit bloated and meander around. This time we don’t have the star rising plot, as Mike has made it and quit, and with the girlfriend gone from the picture, we really only have the guys bonding. Surprisingly enough, the male bonding is actually the BEST part of the whole film. We didn’t get to see what made the guys tick in the first movie, besides Dallas and Mike. Unfortunately we don’t get as much time to delve into the characters as we’d like, as they’re too busy dancing it up on stage and doing test runs in front of 40 year old moms to really make a decent dramatic storyline. However, when it does slow down and the guys get some talk time, it ACTUALLY gets rather interesting. Tarzan (Kevin Nash) has a more sensitive side as a painter and Matt Bomer’s character has some demons to deal with, following the embarrassing failure of his music career. Richie is simplest of them, and his dilemma is that he doesn’t feel comfortable out in his chosen desire as a fireman, but rather really enjoys his job as a male dancer, feeling embarrassed and confused over the fact that he LIKES the industry. When we see these interactions between the group of guys, it comes off as very natural and comfortable. I can’t tell whether it’s because of the writing, or because these guys improvised so much, but it really is the best part of the whole movie.
On the other hand, when these short moments are gone, the movie just falls to ridiculous levels. I couldn’t tell whether Jacobs wanted to direct a comedy or an overstuffed drama, but whatever his intentions, he got a weird hybrid of both. The dancing is pretty good at times, but most of the time I was dying laughing at the ludicrous nature of it. The solid dancing of the first one is replaced by hip hop slop dancing that just looks uninspired and cheesy, even by “Magic Mike” standards. The weird romance with Amber Heard’s character is awkward and forced, and the intense steam between Mike and Rome doesn’t work at all. I WILL admit that the movie making fun of a bunch of “Twilight” dancers, doing a Bella/Edward dance was downright FUNNY! Especially with Kevin Nash making a joke about all the twitards having to grow up at one point and demand that from the adult side. I had to rewind that seen three times I was having so much fun with the little roast they had there.
Rated R for sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54882[/img]Soderbergh isn’t directing the film, but he DID take on some of the duties as filmographer, lending his unique color grading and visual styles to the film. As such you can expect a monochromatic color palette, with bright neon club lights and lots of darkness, except for the spotlight on stage. Outdoor scenes tend to be a bit yellow, although the colors are really beautiful and vibrant during those scenes. Fine detail is fantastic, showing off every line and sinewy muscle on the guys bodies, but the weirdly yellow grading at times feels like it makes the image look a little gauzy. Blacks are very distinctly deep and inky, with only a few times where I thought the monochromatic look greyed out the blacks. Artifacts are nonexistent to my eye, and the movie itself is given a VERY healthy bitrate to eek the best out of the image.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=54890[/img]If anything, “Magic Mike XXL” delivers the goods with the 5.1 DTS-HD MA audio track. Thundering hip hop dance songs permeate the atmosphere, pulsing and vibrating the LFE levels up to level 11. Heavy midbass claps knock you back in your seat and the crowds incessant roaring fills the channels both front and behind. Despite the loud, club like environment, the movies dialog is still crystal clear (except when it’s not meant to be, like in the middle of a club filling of screaming women), and balanced very well with the rest of the track. Directionality is solid, as you can hear where voices and sounds come from at any time, despite the thundering dance songs making up a large portion of the audio experience. It’s loud, it’s aggressive and definitely infectious. A well done track from beginning to end.
• Extended Malik Dance Scene
• The Moves of "Magic Mike XXL"
“Magic Mike XXL” tries so VERY hard, but besides the male comradery and a seriously cute scene where Richie tries to make a depressed convenience store clerk laugh, the movie just fails on all aspects. It takes the source material depressingly seriously, and just can’t grasp the fact that having fun with the material works so much better than trying to make it a drama. As an unintentional comedy it might have some merit, but as a film lover, I really can’t see much to like about the film as a whole. The Blu-ray is given some great specs for the audio and video, but combined with a weak array of extras I have to give this a thumbs down. Skip it.
Starring: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash
Directed by: Gregory Jacobs
Written by: Reid Carolin
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 5.1, Spanish, Portuguese, French DD 5.1
Studio: Warner Brothers
Runtime: 84 minutes
Own “Magic Mike XXL” on Blu-ray Combo Pack on October 6 or Own it Early on Digital HD now!
Buy Magic Mike XXL On Blu-ray at Amazon
Recommendation: Skip It
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