I recently watched Entourage, a film and TV series often described as ‘lifestyle porn’. Magic Mike XXL is a lot like that, and even though I was forced to look at a lot of man ass, and I mean A LOT of man ass, which is something I don’t often indulge in, it was pretty decent porn. I mean lifestyle porn… wow, I guess Channing has me all hot under the collar…
I haven’t seen the first Magic Mike, but I do know that it was widely praised for not being the trashy ab-fest it was marketed as, and instead being an in-depth look at the lives of ‘male entertainers’, and some of the issues they face, and also a drug addiction plot? That seems unexpectedly deep, unlike XXL, which is absolutely the trashy ab-fest it’s marketed as being.
There’s no nice way of saying this, Magic Mike XXL is a bad film. The dialogue frequently feels improvised, by which I mean there was no script, there are a lot of unnecessary moments in the ‘story’, and some, no wait, all of the sub plots feel forced and out-of-place. I really don’t care that a B level character is worried that his ice cream side business might fail. You’re a photographer who’s having trouble making it? Not interested. No women are willing to have sex with you because your penis is too large? FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS MUCH?
The thing is, when all of these sub plots had reached their conclusions, when all of the implausible story points and obvious writing devices had happened, and when the credits were rolling, I had a big smile on my face. So, where did it all go right?
There are two people to thank. Channing Tatum, and perhaps even more than him, Joe Manganiello. Both of these actors are incredibly likable, especially when playing what is essentially a sentient bag of meat. They both have shown stealing moments, Tatum’s come in the form of the very well crafted dance sequences, while Manganiello really shines in one particular scene, where he starts stripping in a convenience store in an attempt to make the day of a woman who ‘looks like she’s never smiled in her life’. Even with the poorly made, boring scenes either side of them, these moments still stand out as being good fun.
It’s hard for me to straight up recommend Magic Mike XXL, but I’ll compare it to Fast and Furious 7. It’s not really a good film, but it’s a fun time, no brain required.
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