Thoughts on Magic Mike XXL (with some Pop Social Science, for Good Measure)

On Friday, I went to watch Magic Mike XXL. I wanted to see ... the dancing. Also, I was interested in ... the story. Ja, the story.
But really I was just happy to spend R70 on a ticket to see Channing Tatum on the big screen. I was ready for that Ginuwine song to reclaim its title as "Best Earworm you Hate to Love".

A remake is always in danger of being worse than the original. In this case, I don't even remember what happened in the original, and for a movie like this I don't even think it's necessary to know any prior information.

The highlights of MMXXL came from the new additions to the cast. Jada Pinkett Smith's character, "Rome", was the perfect successor to Matthew McConaughey's outrageous "Dallas". She was giving us just the right amount of seductive style and attitude, making sure she gave a memorable (and convincing) performance as an MC. I would go to whatever club she was hosting at.

Donald Glover was a pleasant surprise. I hadn't seen him acting since Community, and I expected more of that kind of comedy from his character, but instead what Glover gave us in "Andre" is a combination of RnB crooner and sincere college sweetheart. At Rome's club, he serenades the ladies and puts his "just listen to her..." strategy into action. The women all love him.
I am so glad he did not do any of the embarrassing (corny, unbelievable, yet also weirdly captivating) dance moves that all Rome's other guys were doing. He left that to tWitch - and really, that was the best thing for everyone involved.

The movie was slow in some parts, which I think was because it had to do the work of reaching back to what happened 3 years ago to give some context to why all the guys were coming together again.
The more interesting moments for me always happened when Jada was on screen. That being said, Andie MacDowell deserves a special mention for the way she came out of nowhere* to do an interesting portrayal of a fun-loving divorcee.

I especially enjoyed the women in this movie, and the way that the topics of sex, intimacy, seduction and desire were being discussed from their perspective. They were in charge, which is not usually the case in these spaces. They were writing the rules of objectification, and that was interesting to watch.
This theme was so strong, that it was the subject of a short feature on The Insider on what has been called "man-jectification". There needs to be a new name for that, but largely, I agree with the sentiments:

Over all, it was a fun movie. Some parts of the script were a little far-fetched, and I don't really see any of the performances being nominated for big awards. But I will never think about The Backstreet Boys' "I Want it That Way" the same way ever again, and I may or may not have a great idea for my 25th birthday party...

*Seriously, where has she been since her L'Oreal days? She used to be all over our TV screens.


  1. Thanks for the review and the little insert as well, I really want to watch the movie now so I can give you my opinion as well :-)


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