Magic Mike XXL - More dancing than the original! Oh yeah, and some plot stuff too...

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Magic Mike XXL Warner Brothers Blu-ray

Before I talk about Magic Mike XXL (Blu-ray combo pack, available now!), let’s talk about Magic Mike – the original movie that started it all.

I loved Magic Mike. The attempt at a plot was weak, and the story was dreary, but that didn’t stop me from loving the movie. After all, Channing Tatum? Stripping his clothes off and dancing? With a bunch of other ripped dudes? Sign. Me. Up.

So now fast forward three years to Magic Mike’s triumphant return in the form of Magic Mike XXL. This movie has more dancing, more hot guys, and a cheerier storyline that was both fun and heartfelt. Therefore, it’s safe to say that I liked this one even more!

Plot spoilers ahead. But let’s be real, you don’t watch Magic Mike XXL for the plot.

When Magic Mike XXL begins, Mike (Channing Tatum), is pursuing his dream of building furniture. Remember that cool coffee table in Magic Mike? Now he’s got a truck and is doing it fulltime. Mike gets a phone call from his old stripper buddies he hasn’t seen in three years, who lead him to believe Dallas (Matthew McConaughey) is “gone,” which he takes to mean “dead,” and shows up in a suit (yum) for the wake. But, it’s not a wake; it’s a pool party. And Dallas has simply left the gang to pursue a male strip show in Macau, along with “The Kid” (Alex Pettyfer). McConaughey and Pettyfer, while playing major roles in Magic Mike, do not make an appearance in Magic Mike XXL.

The gang, comprised of Tarzan (Kevin Nash), Ken (Matt Bomer), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias), and Big Dick Richie (yes, that’s his name, and he’s played by Joe Manganiello) inform Mike that they are all planning on leaving the stripping business, but they want to go out with a bang – by doing a final show at a male stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. Mike initially decides he isn’t interested in joining them and heads home. However, while building furniture, he hears a song on the radio and starts breaking out a dance / strip routine in his garage. I want to be very clear here; I care about providing the best, most in-depth possible review, so to be safe, I watched this scene multiple times. Not only is Channing sexy, but he can dance!

Mike realizes how much he misses dancing and embarks on a road trip to Myrtle Beach with his friends, in the back of Tito and Tobias’s fro-yo truck. Shenanigans ensue. On the way to Myrtle Beach, they end up joining in a drag show dance contest, crashing their truck in the woods, and meeting a girl named Zoe (Amber Heard) at the beach. Side note, Zoe looks and acts just like Brooke (Cody Horn), his love interest from the original. Coincidence? There’s also a hilarious scene that involves Big Dick Richie stripping to the Backstreet Boys in the middle of a convenience store.

They end up at a male strip club owned by Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith), who has a romantic history with Mike, and who was also his former business partner before he left to join Dallas’s group. Cue Mike having to prove himself to Rome by, yep, you guessed it – stripping and dancing. In the wake of their incapacitated truck, Rome offers to help the guys get to Myrtle Beach by having rapper/ singer Andre (Donald Glover) drive them.

The guys stop in Charleston, where they stay at Tito’s friend’s house. In the house, middle-aged Nancy (Andie MacDowell) and her friends drink wine and discuss their dating / marital woes with the guys, who reassure them that they deserve better. Zoe is also there, for some coincidental reason (just go with it).

Finally, they reach the stripper convention. Rome and Andre join them, and Rome agrees to be their emcee (their former emcee is still in the hospital following the truck accident – they just left him there in another state, poor guy). The convention organizer, Paris (Elizabeth Banks) also knows Mike and Rome.

The guys decide that instead of doing the same old dance routines that Dallas had assigned in the past, they’ll write routines that represent themselves instead. The convention starts, and the guys get on stage and do their big routine, which is awesome – especially that mirror scene with Mike and Malik (Stephen “twitch” Boss) which had some really impressive dance moves. There’s lots of dancing, and lots of stripping, and lots of hotness.

Overall, there was a lot to love about his movie. Aside from the aforementioned presence of lots of ripped hot guys stripping and dancing, there are some great messages in this movie. For one, female sexuality is depicted in a positive light, with no slut shaming! Yay! I also loved that this movie featured women of all different races, ages, and sizes. I was also excited that the movie showed a scene in a drag club, during which the heterosexual male strippers happily join in and dance with the drag queens without making homophobic jokes or references.

The plot is…exactly what you’d expect (barely there), but definitely more developed and less dreary than the original. I liked that all the characters explored their other talents and hobbies outside of stripping and incorporated them into their routines. Jada Pinkett Smith and Donald Glover were great additions to the cast, and I loved when Donald sang! *swoon*

Another thing, and this is just a tiny thing. But in the first movie, we saw some boobs and female nudity. Which, okay, whatever. But we women see sooo many naked women in movies and TV all the time, clearly aimed at male viewers, that seeing this in Magic Mike – a movie geared toward women and female sexuality – annoyed me. Can’t we ladies have something to ourselves without throwing the men a bone? (heh). But there were no bare boobs in MMXXL, which made me feel like the movie was actually made for me. Yay!

There was an overabundance of F-bombs in this movie, as well as a scene where the guys are doing drugs, which probably contributed to the R-rating (in addition obviously to the sexual nature of this movie, despite the fact that there isn’t any full frontal nudity).

The Blu-ray Combo Pack comes with several special features, including an extended Malik dance scene (yes please). The movie is also available on Standard DVD, and for streaming on digital retailers like Amazon, iTunes, etc.

Don’t go into Magic Mike XXL expecting to watch an Oscar winning masterpiece. But go into it looking for hot guys, awesome dancing, and a fun story. Seriously, their dance moves are crazy impressive (and it doesn’t hurt that they’re ripping off their shirts while doing it). I recommend this movie!

4.5 / 5.0