Initially, when I learned there would be a sequel to Magic Mike, my first reaction was, "But...why?" I enjoyed the first movie, but didn't understand the reasoning behind making another. However, after seeing some positive reviews and hearing great feedback from respected friends, I reconsidered. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to see it in theaters this summer because we'd just moved to Denver and were busy getting settled, finding work, etc. Thankfully, I was able to catch it on Google Play a couple weeks ago and watch it with my husband at our leisure. As soon as the credits rolled, I knew I wanted to write something, but wasn't sure when or where to pitch it. In the end, it came together at this moment, and as luck would have it, Magic Mike XXL comes out on DVD and Blu-ray today!
As an aside, I must confess I hesitated to share this piece because I was worried about what some might think.
She's a married, Christian woman recommending a movie about male strippers?! She should be ashamed! *unsubscribes*
**Not sure if I should issue a spoiler alert, but I'll err on the side of caution and do so**
1. The relationship between the men is genuinely supportive.Rather than the showcasing the usual tenets of traditional masculinity like derision and humiliation, they look for ways to bolster each other during times of struggle. There's no need to question anyone's sexuality because he is showing sensitivity or a desire for romance. In fact, Channing Tatum's character verbally expresses his love for his friends, and instead taking shots at his manhood the men immediately echo his sentiments, supporting him all the more.
In particular, I loved the scene in the convenience store because it shows how far they'll go to encourage Richie, whose "dry spell" is making him feel a bit insecure. Again, rather than kicking him while he's down or attempting to procure meaningless sex on his behalf, the guys band together to pump him up so he can regain his confidence. The combination of the men watching through the window (and cheering like they're at the Super Bowl!) and Joe Manganiello's efforts to bring a smile to the stoic woman behind the counter makes this the funniest scene in the entire movie!
2. Matt Bomer's magnetic rendition of Heaven + Donald Glover's sweet rap serenade prove men are capable of heartfelt gestures of romance.These two scenes are among the most powerful in the entire film and there's not an ounce of nudity in either one. Through a series of unlikely events, the guys end up at the home of a wealthy southern divorceé, played by the lovely Andie McDowell. They arrive while she is having drinks with her friends, all women in their 50s. During a discussion about sex, fantasies and other topics, one of the women confesses she's never made love to her husband with the lights on. At this, Matt Bomer's character begins to serenade her with one of her favorite songs, Heaven by Bryan Adams. It is such a beautiful moment because he confirms her desirability, something our youth-obsessed culture tends to stop doing once women reach about 30 or so. Also, it speaks to the hang-ups many straight men of previous generations still hold and the ways in which those mentalities negatively affect their partners.
In the same vein, Donald Glover's character, Andre, does the most charismatic improvised rap I've ever seen. After asking one of the patrons of Domina (a club owned by Jada Pinkett-Smith's character) a few questions about herself, he discovers she's recently divorced and out for the first time since her marriage ended. Using the information she's just shared with him, he creates a personal and unique song on the spot, bringing her much-needed joy in the midst of stressful personal transition.