Monday, July 04, 2016
Magic Mike XXL
Directed by Gregory Jacobs and written by Reid Carolin, Magic Mike XXL is the sequel to 2012’s Magic Mike in which a former male stripper reunites with old friends for a stripping convention in Myrtle Beach, South Carolina as he copes with some of the choices he’s made as well as helping out his old friends. The film is partially a road trip but also an exploration into debauchery and camaraderie between men trying to take the next step of their lives. Starring Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez, Matt Bomer, Gabriel Iglesias, Amber Heard, Donald Glover, Andie MacDowell, Jada Pinkett Smith, and Elizabeth Banks. Magic Mike XXL is an entertaining and wild film from Gregory Jacobs.
Set three years after the events of the first film, the film revolves around a former male stripper who is trying to run his own furniture business as he is coaxed to reunite with his fellow strippers who have been let go by their boss as they want to go on one last hurrah at a convention in Myrtle Beach. It’s a film that explores a man trying to be an adult as he reluctantly returns to what made him a big deal as well as a lot of money where he also realizes he has to smooth out issues he has with his former friends in order to do this. At the same time, the journey would force Mike (Channing Tatum) and his friends to think of new ideas for their show as they would turn to an old friend of Mike’s for help for the show in Myrtle Beach.
Reid Carolin’s script doesn’t just explore Mike’s reluctance to return to stripping but also the friends he had left behind as they’re all struggling to figure out what to do after this road trip. Especially as they also deal with the fact that their boss Dallas had abandoned them and never really give them anything to do creatively as entertainers. The script also reveals Mike’s own struggles to keep his business afloat as well as his own personal setback in his life where he rallies his buddies to really go out on one last hurrah. All of which is told in a traditional three-act structure where the first act is about Mike joining the boys on the road while the second act largely consists of him meeting his old friend/boss in Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) and entertain some housewives. The third act is set in Myrtle Beach where it is the film’s climax where Mike, the Kings of Tampa, and a couple of Rome’s boys would create the ultimate show.
Gregory Jacobs’ direction is quite simple while it also has a flair for style in the way many of the stripping performances and staging are presented. Shot on location in Tampa as well as parts of Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, and its climax at Myrtle Beach. Jacobs does create moments that are simple in its approach to the compositions while displaying a flair for style in a few tracking shots and some long shots. Even as he maintains an intimacy in the medium shots and close-ups for Mike’s solo dance early in the film as well as very enjoyable moment when Richie (Joe Manganiello) does an impromptu dance at a convenience store. The latter of which is a key plot-point that would serve as a major catalyst for what Mike and the boys want to do as entertainers as it has an element of liveliness in the direction. Jacobs would also use a few wide shots to establish some of the locations along with some of the large group conversations as it plays into this world of debauchery and excess. The film’s climax at the convention doesn’t just have this air of excitement but also displays different styles of performances as it has an air of class but also raunchiness that is about making women happy. Overall, Jacobs creates a fun and exhilarating film about male strippers going to a convention for one last show.
Cinematographer/editor Steven Soderbergh does brilliant work with both the film‘s cinematography and editing where he infuses a lot of unique visual styles in the lighting for the scenes at night in the former in his Peter Andrews alias while doing a lot of stylish cutting with its jump-cuts and some straightforward cuts in his Mary Ann Bernard alias. Production designer Howard Cummings, with set decorator Barbara Munch and art director Eric R. Johnson, does fantastic work with the look of the home that Rome lives and works at as well as the staging on the convention. Costume designer Christopher Peterson does nice work with the costumes as it is largely casual with the exception of the clothes the guys would wear for the ultimate show.
Visual effects supervisor John Bair does terrific work with some of the minimal visual effects as it relates to the ending but also a few moments of set dressing. Sound editor Larry Blake is superb for the natural approach to the sound in how music is heard as well as the reaction of the crowd at the convention. Music supervisor Season Kent does amazing work with the film’s soundtrack with its mix of pop, R&B, electronic music, rock, and dance as it plays into the kind of stuff the guys strip to as it is a plethora of music from Ginuwine, 112, 50 Cent, Bruno Mars, Nine Inch Nails, the Backstreet Boys, D’Angelo, Ozzy Osbourne, Donna Summer, R. Kelly, Jodeci, and many others.
The casting by Carmen Cuba is great as it features some notable small roles from Michael Strahan as a stripper at Rome’s house, Stephen “tWitch” Boss as another stripper of Rome’s that would do his performance with Mike, and Donald Glover as another stripper of Rome’s club as he is also a singer that befriends Ken. Amber Heard is wonderful as a photographer named Zoe that Mike would run into often as they become friends as she would attend the convention out of curiosity. Andie MacDowell is terrific as Nancy as a housewife who lets Mike and the guys stay at her place as she has a great interest towards Richie. Elizabeth Banks is amazing as Paris as the convention’s organizer who knows Mike as she isn’t sure if she can get a spot for him and his friends only to reunite with an old friend she loves. Jada Pinkett Smith is fantastic as Rome as an old friend/boss of Mike who still has some resentment about how Mike left her as she is reluctant to help him and his friends.
Kevin Nash is excellent as Tarzan as the big and muscular guy who is also very good at making art as he is the one who missed Mike the most as he is happy Mike came along for the trip. Gabriel Iglesias is superb as Tobias as the gang’s DJ/MC who is trying to start a yogurt business with Tito as he would get sick early in the film forcing him to not join the boys for the rest of the trip. Adam Rodriguez is brilliant as Tito as the stripper who wants to create yogurt that is healthy as he turns to Mike for business advice. Matt Bomer is marvelous as Ken as the model who has some issues with Mike as he tries to maintain a positive attitude as he eventually turns to Mike about getting help for his acting career. Joe Manganiello is incredible as Richie as the guy with the big dick who is more uncertain about what to do after the gig as well as realizing he’s got a lot more to offer where Manganiello displays a lot of charisma to his role. Finally, there’s Channing Tatum in an incredible performance as Magic Mike as a former stripper who is coaxed to get back in the game as he smooth out some issues he has with friends as well as deal with the fact that he is who he is and be able to accept that.
Magic Mike XXL is a marvelous film from Gregory Jacobs. Featuring a great cast led by Channing Tatum, some wild and entertaining moments, and a fun soundtrack. It’s a film that is all about having a good time and guys taking off their clothes to entertain the ladies. In the end, Magic Mike XXL is an awesome film from Gregory Jacobs.
Related: Magic Mike
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