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MAGIC MIKE XXL

SYNOPSIS: Three years have passed since Mike (Channing Tatum) left his life as a stripper at the top of his game. When he meets up with the remaining Kings of Tampa, who are now ready to quit the game too, they decide to join forces and have one last performance at the Strippers' Convention in Myrtle Beach. But there are some interesting whistle stops on the way - in Jacksonville and Savannah, where they meet up with friends - old and new. There are new moves to learn, too.

Review by Louise Keller:
Sex continues to be the sizzle in this raunchy road movie that plays out like fun-filled foreplay and in which Channing Tatum has all the moves. It doesn't matter that the plot is in short supply: this is all about fun and sensual pleasure as good-looking, sculpted bods with quivering abs deliver energetic, innovative and sensual routines. There is something wild and wonderful about the mood generated - this is a genuinely upbeat, uplifting celebration of sensuality and life. We feel as though we are there with the guys on the road to the Strippers' Convention, each pit-stop another excuse for a new set up, new routines and seductive reason for dollar confetti to fall like rain showers while enthusiastic young females preen and titter. Gregory Jacobs is at the helm this time, replacing Steven Soderbergh, who continues to keep his finger on the pulse as producer, cinematographer and editor.

When the film begins, it takes its time to establish the mood. We know that Tatum's Magic Mike has left his stripper past behind and moved on to run his own furniture business, his creativity now channeled into carpentry. There is real magic in the workshop sequence when Mike suddenly slips into an impromptu routine - no music, no reason, no fuss. His body moves with such grace and elegance. A special moment and Tatum is all-class.

A pool party prank by the rest of the old gang The Kings of Tampa, gets Mike back in the game; not much persuasion is required. Into the old ice-cream truck they jump and the road trip begins. The dialogue is spontaneous and gloriously inconsequential as Mike suggests they ditch the old sailor and fireman routines to present something new. If it's scripted, it's brilliant; if it's improvised, it works perfectly. Seize the day, is the motto as they head to Myrtle Beach for their last hurrah.

The fun begins. The convenience store sequence when Joe Manganiello's Richie performs an outrageous routine to make a dour-faced sales assistant smile is naughty but done with cheeky humour. There's a night on the beach, where Mike generates sparks with Zoe (Amber Heard, lovely), whose camera is her eyes, and then there's the Country Club, where sassy Rome (Jada Pinkett Smith) runs a fantasy house where gyrating hips, flexing pecs, unbuckled belts and little gold shorts are on offer. Next stop is the elegant home of well-heeled, eager to rock-n-roll Nancy (Andie MacDowell), where Mike runs into Zoe again and more chemistry is ignited. (Heard is appealing as the girl who likes cake.)

It's all pretty wild and sensual and things quickly escalate at the Stripper Convention where the MC (Elizabeth Banks) asks the audience of eager young women: Are you ready to be worshipped, exalted and have your beauty brought out? Each stud has his turn on stage, culminating in an eye-popping and titillating routine featuring Tatum in a thong. The choreography is like simulated sex and it's superbly done. The film is beautifully cast - the guys are perfect and the girls handpicked. Soderbergh's cinematography is sensual and the editing crisp. Let your hair down: fantasy is alive and well.

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CRITICAL COUNT
Favourable: 1
Unfavourable: 0
Mixed: 0

MAGIC MIKE XXL (MA15+)
(US, 2015)

CAST: Channing Tatum, Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Kevin Nash, Gabriel Iglesias

PRODUCER: Reid Carolin, Gregory Jacobs, Channing Tatum, Nick Wechsler

DIRECTOR: Gregory Jacobs

SCRIPT: Reid Carolin

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Steven Soderbergh

EDITOR: Steven Soderbergh

MUSIC: Not credited

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Howard Cummings

OTHER: Not credited

RUNNING TIME: 115 minutes

AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Roadshow

AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: July 9, 2015







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