Review: Magic Mike XXL with Channing Tatum

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Suns. Guns. Buns and Magic Mike XXL are out this weekend in cinemas near you and me.

A film starring Channing Tatum and Amber Herd this is a sequel to the original Magic Mike and follows the team of Male Entertainers on their last blow-out performance at the apparently very real Stripper Convention.

It’s a film about strippers hanging out on a bus, they find themselves all being forced by life to go their own separate ways, and give up the life of taking their clothes off for the amusement of many, mainly, women.

The screening I was at was sponsored by the Northern Whig and therefore I was given two cocktails on the way in so please take into account that, with my alcohol tolerance being similar to that of a shivering baby mouse who also happens to be fasting, I may have enjoyed it more than I would have. Though I did enjoy it a hell of a lot.

The film shifted focus somewhat from the original, where Mike was originally the mentor to the ‘new kid’ in XXL, while still the main protagonist, Magic Mike has the new role as the leader of the group of guys and the only real antagonist is their collective self esteem. A very feel good movie, though cheesy, it feels like it was perhaps trying to gear towards an audience of men as well as women and I am definitely surprised by how much I enjoyed myself.

The film begins with Mike who has been running his own furniture company, where he makes really interesting and popular furniture out of things he has found on the street or in bins. After throwing out Ice Cream left by his seemingly ex girlfriend from the last movie he starts some sexy dancing, with visual innuendo sparking all over the place. After eventually getting sick of dancing by himself, he finds out that a main character from the previous film has died and this makes him really want to take all his clothes off in front of people for money.

The great thing about this film is that is fun and daft, there is no reason to take any of it seriously and it doesn’t invite you to, aside from what I’ve interpreted as a pro-feminism look at the equality of women in relation to men but also in relation to each other.

The underlying message, if there is one, is that their job isn’t just about being clothed and then being naked, but about helping their customers have a good time and even help heal their difficult lives. Though this sounds like the kind of lie you would tell yourself as a stripper to keep yourself away from the heroin, within the confines of the film it is a very pleasant view point and all the female characters are respected.

There are frequent casual uses of female actors that are used to great effect by being just normal looking people. Some of the women are overweight, or older and the film doesn’t spend any time drawing attention to this, which both gives the film a foot in reality as well as a pleasant non judgemental look at a male stripper show.

It is hard to imagine how a film that is essentially about men taking their clothes off how I could elicit such meaning, but it left me feeling good. The visual jokes had me in tears laughing, though as I mentioned there was a lot of gin involved, I would say that if you are homophobic or if rainbow flags annoy you because they make you question things about yourself, that this film may make you uncomfortable, other wise it is very entertaining.

Magic Mike XXL is a funny, feel good movie with a non-judgmental tone that isn’t, in the words of a man in the queue, ‘just a film for girls’, whatever that means.