• Call them ‘healers’

    Karen Kunawicz

    Karen Kunawicz

    I Didn’t get to see Magic Mike in 2012—but that didn’t keep me from enjoying Magic Mike XXL. In a nutshell, it’s a movie about male strippers.

    I don’t know about the first film but if you’re looking to see sex scenes, a penis or bare breasts, go elsewhere. But if you are looking for racy, sexy dancing done with an incredible amount of athleticism, well chiseled male bodies, some comedy and a tiny bit of story—you’ve got the right flick.

    Magic Mike XXL reunites five of the dancers from the first film: Magic Mike (Channing Tatum), Big Dick Richie (Joe Manga-niello), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Ken (Matt Bomer) and Tarzan (Kevin Nash). They go on a road trip with MC Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias), making their way to a big “stripper convention” at Myrtle Beach.

    Steven Soderbergh isn’t directing this one but Reid Carolin is still on board doing the screenplay with Channing Tatum (after all, the idea for Magic Mike did come from his experience as a dancer when he was 19.) XXL is also missing Matthew McConaughey’s character, Dallas. Will really have to see the first one now.

    After watching this film, I will no longer refer to the characters: Magic Mike, Big Dick Richie, Tito, Ken, Tarzan etc. “as strippers.” As Richie would say, they’re “male entertainers,” or as one other character, Andre (Donald Glover) would put it, they’re “healers.”

    The movie takes a light and positive spin on female desire—the “action” is consensual and happens off cam, and it seems the main goal of several of the male characters is to make at least one woman smile (by listening to her, paying attention to her in one form or another).

    Mike may be magical but Joe Manganiello’s bag of tricks steals the show IMAGE COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.

    Mike may be magical but Joe Manganiello’s bag of tricks steals the show IMAGE COURTESY OF WARNER BROS.

    The best scene (or dances) in Magic Mike XXL belong not to the titular character but to Joe Manganiello’s Richie who tries to make a poker-faced, obsessed-with-her-cell phone convenience store clerk smile. After watching that, you’ll never hear the Back Street Boy’s “I Want It That Way” the same way again. What he does in a tiny isle with a bag of Cheetos and a bottle of water is pretty much magical.

    He also does something in the latter part of the film with Nine Inch Nails’ “Closer.”

    Two of my friends who saw an advanced screening in Manila said they were producing imaginary one-dollar bills in their head before watching. One of them said she ran out of imaginary one-dollar bills for that convenience store scene.

    Over here in Ohio, an older lady a few seats away spilled her entire bucket of popcorn, when we saw the mess on the way out, her seatmate told us, “She got excited.”

    One day later I was having lunch at a restaurant and while the waitress serving us was by the bar, a young man outside the window was dancing for her. She was oblivious to the whole thing—my friend and I told her, “Some guy in jeans and red t-shirt and long blond hair just magic mike-d you.”

    “Oh that was my boyfriend!” she said—with a smile.


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