If Magic Mike, the 2012 stripper drama starring Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, and Matthew McConaughey, was a surprise hit, then the sequel -- hitting theaters on July 1 -- is an all-knowing victory tour.
Ditching Xquisite Strip Club (as well as Matthew McConaughey and a large amount substantive of plot), Tatum and his band of burly men hit the road in this stripper odyssey, which serves to celebrate the women who flocked to see first film.
Magic Mike XXL, if nothing else, is a love letter to its fans, putting the audience into the sequel. Joining the cast this time around are Amber Heard, Andie MacDowell, Elizabeth Banks, and Jada Pinkett Smith, all representing stops along the way as the men journey from Tampa, Fla. to Myrtle Beach, S.C. for the 2015 stripper convention.
While fans may go in thinking they’re going to get more of the same (including plenty of bare asses and washboard abs), stripping is secondary to the art of seduction. Sure, there’s plenty of rump shaking, but there’s very little nudity with the men staying largely covered up. (Manganiello’s bare ass represents the film’s brief, thong-free nudity.)
And that’s OK because the women steal the show, which brings us to a few highlights from the film:
1. Mike Is Not the Only One With Magic Touch.
In a scene-stealing moment, MacDowell plays a sexually unsatisfied divorcee, who finds herself in the company of Magic Mike (Tatum), Big Dick Richie (Manganiello), Ken (Bomer), Tito (Rodriguez), and Tarzan (Kevin Nash). Fueled by expensive wine and southern drawls, the 57-year-old actress welcomes the men when the stripper tour stops by her Savannah, Ga. home. It’s there, where we realize that Mike isn’t the only one with a bit of magic when it’s discovered she has something BDR had given up on finding.
2. Move Over, McConaughey. It’s Time for the Second Coming of Jada Pinkett Smith.
While Smith’s role as Rome, the owner of the private, all-male strip club, is not as layered or as surprising as McConaughey’s turn as Dallas in the first film, the actress takes full advantage of every moment of screen time. She seduces, she empowers, and puts Tatum’s character in his place. Between this and Gotham, she’ll have fans yelling, “Yassss queen!”
3. Matt Bomer Sings, for Your Pleasure…
In a bit of a surprise, Bomer dusts off his singing voice -- first heard on Glee -- in an attempt to woo women (and gay men) everywhere. The first moment comes when he sings Bryan Adams’ “Heaven” to a group of divorced housewives. He later takes on “Untitled (How Does It Feel)” by D’Angelo -- a song he tells ET that made him “feel something.” And it will make audiences feel lots of things.
4. There’s Plenty of More Joe to Go Around.
Just because the former True Blood actor is engaged to Sofia Vergara doesn’t mean she gets to keep him all to herself. In addition to baring his ass early in the film, Manganiello benefits from plenty of more screen time. He not only gets all the one-liners, he also gets the best solo dance of the entire movie. In an attempt to make one grimace-faced woman smile (a running theme in the film), BDR takes cues from the Backstreet Boys for a truly unique display of the art of seduction.
5. Watch Out for Michael Strahan’s Surprising Cameo.
We all knew he was going to appear in the film, but to what extent we. Did. NOT. And there’s plenty of him one pivotal scene at Rome’s private club. Between his appearance in Magic Mike XXL and Kelly Ripa’s shockingly funny guest spot on Comedy Central’s Broad City, we will never watch Live! the same way again.
6. And Just Remember, This Is a Victory Tour.
So forget the idea of a serious plot (that weighed heavily in the first one), or understanding why Mike decides to go on the road trip in the first place, or even why he is smitten with the elusive Zoe (Heard as a more likeable and totally watchable Cody Horn), and just enjoy the men letting loose and slapping each other on the ass for righting the wrong of Showgirls’ past while proving that people (women, in particular) want to see a bunch of men objectified on the big screen.
Before you go see the film, check out all the stars of Magic Mike XXL before they were strippers: