film, magic mike, magic mike xxl, strippers, full monty, channing tatum

Magic Mike XXL

Movies about male strippers have been around for a long time, starting with The Full Monty in 1997 which performed very well in cinemas and on dvd release. Grossing $257,938,649 worldwide to date. So hardly surprising in 2012 hollywood released their own version with Magic Mike, hotter, steamier and more revealing. Taking $167,221,571 worldwide, with a sequel planned almost before the original was released. The sequel calling for thousands of women to be extras in the scenes, to make it the biggest, sexiest film to date. Already taking $39,645,880 worldwide.

Mike Lane as Magic Mike (played by Channing Tatum), split from the Kings of Tampa three years ago for a normal life. A girl, a business, he thought he had a bright future. The house, the job, the ring even, and then she left him. He struggles by on whatever he can make, CEO of his own furniture business with only one member of staff that he can't even afford health care for. The orders come rolling in, but for now he is just barely making by. Pretending all is good, that he is happy, but he is broken, miserable. Until he gets a message saying that Dallas is gone and an address to meet the old crew again. Turning up in a suit to what he thinks is a wake he ends up at a huge pool party, back in the life. An offer made to join the crew with their new MD as Dallas has left them with their youngest talent to their own devices, but the crew wants one last ride to the stripper convention in Myrtle Beach.

Mike of course joins them for the last ride, pretending all is well. They all are, that their lives outside of the shows are going to be perfect amazing situations. Every single one of the crew lies, covering up how much they really hate their lives. As they all enjoy the trip, getting high, drinking, girls, drag shows, going out with a bang. Discussing how to change the act, to be more themselves instead of just the personas Dallas had chosen for them all those years back. They pick up a few new friends along the way, including Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) as their new MD who normally runs her own private strip house. Zoe (Amber Heard) a young photographer going through a bad break up who Mike would really like to get to know a lot better.

This is a very good, enjoyable film, and not just for the half-naked men through a large amount of the movie. There is some very good interplay between characters, the greatest between Rome/Mike or Zoe/Mike. Interplay I would have liked to see a lot more of, not just what I felt to be tiny linking parts between the strip scenes as a nod to actual plot. In the end the plot is barely even there, just that a group of guys have lives which completely suck, but for the few minutes they are on the stage nothing seems to matter anymore. They just live for that moment, the spotlight, the only time they feel truly alive. Then again this is a film about strippers, so I guess asking for a little plot is a foolish idea. However if this movie was about five females stripping I am pretty sure there would be calls to have it banned for sexism. Just a thought people.