“Magic Mike XXL” was a different kind of film experience for not only its director, Steve Soderbergh, but also for its star, Channing Tatum. Soderbergh is known as a serious and highly experimental director, so this cinematic tour into the world of male strip clubs seemed a bit of departure. Still though, “Magic Mike” delivered as a highly entertaining film that worked both comedically and dramatically, and it’s no surprise that Soderbergh returned to the “Mike” story in producing the sequel, “Magic Mike XXL.”
This time out, Soderbergh is acting as producer, and Gregory Jacobs, who was assistant director on “Magic Mike” is acting as director. The two of them make a strong team, as “Magic Mike XXL” is a highly entertaining film that’s got more comedy and more outrageous strip numbers than the original film.
“Magic Mike XXL” also brings back Channing Tatum as Mike, and he’s a very welcome presence in this story. Since the first film, Mike has retired from stripping and has settled down into his own furniture rehab business. Still though, he longs for the stage and when his gang of stripper buddies comes by to coax him into a comeback, he doesn’t have to think long about his answer.
Soon, Mike and his stripper friends are headed cross-country to a stripping convention, where they hope to have one last performance. Along the way, they meet up with several strong woman, played by top actresses including Andie MacDowell, as an upscale housewife, and Jada Pinkett Smith as a nightclub owner.
One of the other actresses featured in this film is Crystal Hunt, who has developed into a glowing blonde beauty since her early days as a teen star on TV soaps. Hunt is soon to appear in the Pop Network show, “Queens of Drama,” with Joan Collins, and she’s a very welcome presence here. There’s no doubt that Hunt has made the difficult transition from teen performer to grown up film actress, and she’s done it successfully, even dabbling in music through SoundCloud.
“Magic Mike XXL” delivers as a highly entertaining drama-comedy that has a wealth of high energy dance numbers to keep the audience laughing and charged up the whole way. It’s a worthy sequel to the original “Magic Mike.”