By Allison Skornick-Rose
Jun 30, 2015 04:19 PM EST

Magic Mike XXL Theatrical Review

Magic Mike XXL Theatrical Review
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I'm all for a good road trip to Myrtle Beach for a stripper convention…especially when those strippers include Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), Joe Manganiello (True Blood), and Matt Bomer (White Collar). Yes, those sexy strippers are back for another round of frivolity and fun in Magic Mike XXL and spend much of the film half naked which, frankly, isn't a bad thing.

When Mike (Tatum) is contacted by the remaining members of the Kings of Tampa gang, he decides to join them for one last "ride" to the annual Stripper's Convention.  As the group makes their way north, they encounter an unforeseen circumstance which requires Mike to look up an old friend in Savannah and bunk with some divorced ladies in North Carolina who show them a little "Southern hospitality". Determined to go out with a "bang" Mike, Richie (Manganiello), Ken (Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez; about last night) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash; John Wick) whip up a brand new show and drive the crowd crazy.

Tatum's talent doesn't especially lie with his acting, which is adequate.  His dance moves are top notch though, even as he shares the stage with So You Think You Can Dance Alumni, and fan favorite, Stephen "Twitch" Boss (Step Up All In).  Manganiello holds his own as he tries to garner sympathy from the group because he hasn't had sex in five months.  Rodriguez and Nash are good in their respective roles with Nash showing some deeper emotion while discussing his unfulfilled desire to have a wife and family.

However, the two stand out roles in this film are Bomer and Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham) as Emcee, Rome.  Smith brings a sassy, sultry dimension to the team that Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) couldn't.  Her hello kiss with Tatum was so steamy it could have melted the screen. 

Bomer is a talented actor, pretty face, and decent enough dancer, but I was blown away when he started singing.  His final act is worth watching over and over again as you will find yourself in a puddle on the floor as the romance oozes from his every cell.  Notables include Twitch's dancing, Donald Glover's (Community) vocals, Andie MacDowell's (Four Weddings and a Funeral) Southern Cougar act and an unforgettable cameo by Michael Strahan (Brothers).

The plot of the movie leaves a lot to be desired, and some of the acting is cringe worthy; but, let's face it, it isn't meant to be a thought provoking, academy award winning drama.  What it is is pure entertainment for the "soccer mom" set.  The music is varied and rich, and the dancing is the true star of the show. In fact, they could have left out some of the dialogue and swapped it for a few more dance scenes without losing anything.  The only dance scene I wish they would have cut was Tatum's solo in his workshop (ala Kevin Bacon's Gymnastics/dance routine in Footloose).  It was simply too cheesy to be taken seriously.

If you are looking for a fun, non-thinking, girl's night out, leave your man at home (or tell him to go see one of the blow it up movies out right now) kind of movie this holiday weekend, then go buy your ticket right now.  While you won't be witnessing a cinematic masterpiece, I promise you will leave the theater with a smile on your face.

Grade C+

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