Magic Mike XXL


Channing Tatum is eminently watchable even when he's acting badly, which he does often (White House Down) but not always (Foxcatcher). But Tatum is most watchable when he's dancing. He's leonine grace wrapped in B-boy swagger. He's always been pretty fly for a white guy, and he marshals his XXL amiability and athleticism as he returns to the role of Mike Lane, a former Tampa "male entertainer" named Magic Mike who reunites with his unique band of brothers (Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Matt Bomer and Adam Rodriguez) for one last hurrah at the annual stripper convention in Myrtle Beach. Lane has been out of the game for a few years building a custom-made furniture business when he gets a call the boys' former leader (played by Matthew McConaughey in the first Magic Mike [2012]) has died. The call is a ruse to lure Lane back into the game. It works and off the merry band go for a July Fourth weekend of bonding, teasing and tantalizing -- with one another and assorted women along the way. As they make their way from Tampa to Jacksonville to Savannah to Charleston and finally the Grand Strand, the Kings of Tampa visit two powerful women played by Jada Pinkett Smith and Andie MacDowell, who lend the film a refreshing air of feminine affirmation that isn't rooted in motherhood or martyrdom. Smith and MacDowell are both terrific. The dancers, who seem to revel in their sexual objectification, try to heal broken women while embracing their own fractured and fragmented natures. Reid Carolin's script has its moments of zen and it's pretty gay-friendly but the final act is a little, well, limp after a pretty scorching buildup. Still, it's worth a few bucks.

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