Magic Mike XXL – the sequel to Steven Soderbergh’s hit comedy/drama Magic Mike – opens in theaters this summer, and fittingly looks to be the Expendables of movies for beefcake actors. Back for more dancing, stripping, and bro-centric antics are Channing Tatum (who also co-wrote the film), along with Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, and Adam Rodriguez – with Donald Glover (Community), Michael Strahan (Live with Kelly and Michael), and Stephen Boss (Step Up All In) among the newcomers.
The premise for Magic Mike XXL – Mike un-retires to join the remaining Kings of Tampa on a road trip ending in one last show in Myrtle Beach – was inspired by Tatum’s real-life experiences at stripper conventions, and was almost included as a subplot in the original Magic Mike. Soderbergh stepped aside to let his longtime assistant director Gregory Jacobs call the shots on the second Magic Mike film, but remained onboard to serve as both the cinematographer and editor on the project.
Magic Mike XXL doesn’t seem all that different from its predecessor, aesthetically speaking, but that’s to be expected when it features much of the same talent behind the camera.
However, in terms of story, Tatum and co-screenwriter Reid Carolin very much appear to have jettisoned the heavier dramatic elements from the first Magic Mike (read: the harsh realities of the stripper showbiz and lifestyle) for more sequences of camaraderie between Mike and his fellow strippers – as well as exchanges with their clientele. The things that most people liked about the first movie have been given more attention here, in other words, again brought to life via Soderbergh’s typically sophisticated cinematic style.
Indeed, Tatum has already justified Magic Mike XXL‘s existence by saying it offers a truly different experience than the first installment – and judging by the trailers, he’s definitely right on that count.
Matthew McConaughey isn’t reprising as strip club owner Dallas in the Magic Mike sequel, but Jada Pinkett Smith (Gotham) will be serving in a similar capacity this time around – and in the trailer, she plays the stripper circus ringmaster with appropriate flair. Meanwhile, it appears Amber Heard’s (3 Days to Kill) character forms something of a romantic connection with Mike, and the stripper clientele includes Elizabeth Banks (Pitch Perfect 2) and Andie MacDowell (Cedar Cove) – the latter of which has a funny encounter with Manganiello’s “Big D**k Richie” in this new trailer.
Indeed, “fun” seems to be the key word here, so it’s easy to imagine that Magic Mike XXL will appeal to most of the same moviegoers who drove its predecessor to a $167 million worldwide take – and might even draw in a bigger crowd, at that.
Magic Mike XXL opens in U.S. theaters on July 1st, 2015.