Entertainment Movies Why Magic Mike XXL needs way more stripping

Why Magic Mike XXL needs way more stripping

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magic-mike-reviewAs a straight guy, I should have spent the entirety of Magic Mike XXL grimacing at a bevy of bulging biceps and xylophone abs whilst clutching my paunch in shame.

Instead, I was subjected to full frontal boredom.

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After an hour, I felt like joining the women and gay men screaming for flesh. Nudity would have been a welcome distraction.

Except nobody was screaming, least of all my girlfriend, who almost fell asleep.

Other reviews have bemoaned the complete lack of plot. True, it’s thinner than the fabric occasionally wedged between Mike’s (Channing Tatum) butt cheeks.

But let’s be real – that’s not why you want to watch this movie. You pay $20 to see some hard, glistening chests.

Instead, you’ll waste that amount on two hours of a half-road trip, half-dance movie that fails at both.

Most of the film centres on a bunch of bros in a camper van, reliving their college days.

I’ve seen that movie. Usually it stars Seth Rogen or James Franco and involves a car crash, copious ounces of marijuana and a few laughs.

‘Magic Mike: Brotherhood of the Wandering Pants’ features a car crash, a jar of ecstasy tablets and barely a chortle.

After various dude-bro hijinks, we arrive at a club run by Rome (Jada Pinkett-Smith).

Finally, some action.

Her mansion is a den of gloom, hedonism and cashed-up ‘Queens’ who must be ‘worshipped’ by their muscle-bound lads.

The floor is littered with dollar bills. The music is vulgar. The girls are flipped, twisted, jumped upon and booty-shaken by the men. And they love it.

Mike (Tatum) is displayed here in all his glory, for a brief minute or two, while the rest of the cast completely disappears.

Tatum is a dancer, and he does that very well, clothed or semi-nude. But he did it far better in Step Up 1 and 2.

The rest of his buddies have muscles, but few moves, so they fade into the background whenever the real stripping starts.

It’s here at the mansion of sin that we see the only kiss of the entire film.

After that brief interlude, it’s back in the car again with lots of driving and mind-numbing dialogue. Because that’s fun.

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The closest the film comes to actual sex is when Joe Manganiello’s character sleeps with a lonely widow. Or so he says. The only thing we see is him getting fist bumps from all his bros.

Magic Mike’s chemistry is an empty void. We’re told that Mike had a fling once with Rome (Pinkett-Smith) but nothing comes of it. He finds a new, blonde flame (Amber Heard) but rather than woo her, sparks flying, they mumble about cake and urination.

Finally, the Flying Pants Brigade arrives at the Place Where Pants Fly. This is the moment to which the film has been building, weakly.

If you’ve seen the trailer or any of the posters, you recognise the blue jeans, the shiny abs. The Moment. All five strippers, on stage, getting naked. Choreographed. For all of about 10 seconds.

Instead of a big group performance, Rome introduces each of the guys one-by-one or in pairs. The weaker dancers get about half a minute, if they’re lucky. Richie (Manganiello) gets the most time. His 50 Shades of Grey-themed dance got my girlfriend’s breathless tick of approval.

Mike and Augustus (Stephen Boss) are the centrepiece. But for most of it they are clothed in tracksuit pants doing impressive dance moves, with the occasional crotch-in-face thrust.

And then it’s all over.

The final indignity is a closing montage of the dude bros buying ice cream. Magic Mike XXL is all cod, no piece.

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