'Magic Mike XXL': What the Critics Are Saying

Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash and Adam Rodriguez reunite for the Gregory Jacobs-helmed stripper sequel, featuring Jada Pinkett Smith, Elizabeth Banks and Michael Strahan.

Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Kevin Nash, Adam Rodriguez and Gabriel Iglesias reunite in Magic Mike XXL, the steamy stripper sequel that has the male dancers baring it all for a final show at an industry convention. This time, without the original's club owner Matthew McConaughey or newcomer Alex Pettyfer, the cameo-filled installment adds Jada Pinkett Smith, Elizabeth Banks, Amber Heard, Andie MacDowell, Donald Glover, Michael Strahan and Stephen "tWitch" Boss.

The 2012 film's director Steven Soderbergh stepped aside in favor of longtime associate Gregory Jacobs (although Soderbergh maintained an important pseudonymous presence as cinematographer and editor).

The Warner Bros. release is expected to gross $45 to $55 million over the five-day July Fourth weekend, opening opposite the Arnold Schwarzenegger-fronted Terminator: Genisys and competing against holdovers Jurassic World and Inside Out.

See what top critics are saying about Magic Mike XXL:

The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy calls it "ridiculously entertaining" as "this is the love child of a road movie and a let's-put-on-a-show musical, a mixed-breed format that provides a sense of structure and momentum within which almost anything goes." Of the "last ride" premise, "the nimble, quick-witted script by returning screenwriter (and Tatum producing partner) Reid Carolin refuses to take it at all seriously, as it simply notes the passage of time while stressing the importance of living in the present and making the most of your natural gifts." Jacobs "keeps the action popping all the way and makes all the actors look good," and even if Tatum inevitably comes off as the most favored among equals, everyone in the ensemble gets ample opportunity to shine, including the women in featured roles," including Pinkett Smith, Banks, MacDowell and Heard.

Still, Tatum, "as beautifully as Gene Kelly did in An American in Paris and George Chakiris did at the beginning of West Side Story, ... slides effortlessly, with the prompting of music, from natural movement into dance." Altogether, "at least as much as in the original, what makes XXL go down so enjoyably is that these guys are just out to please; their idea is to make all the ladies in their audiences feel special and catered to, that it's all about them and not about the male ego. Naturally, the ultra-buff men know what they've got and flaunt it, but in a self-consciously fun way, not as an expression of hubris or dominance. The attitude is that we all know why we're here and let's have a good time; this way, all the characters get what they want — or at least what they need — and that includes the movie audience."

Chicago Tribune's Michael Phillips says it "comes up a little short compared with the original," as "this time the jokes are heavier, more on-the-nose, though a surprising percentage of them work anyway. ... It strips down to its narrative skivvies and says, in effect: Let's not kid ourselves. You're not here, with your wad of singles in hand, to see a movie about the dark night of Magic Mike's soul." Altogether, it "retains the original's sunny, democratic vibe and refreshing lack of meanness, as well as Soderbergh's interest (if not his precision) in keeping several of the ensemble members in frame, interacting, without a lot of routine close-ups. The temperament of the Magic Mike movies is sweet, even with all the carefully choreographed salaciousness."

New York Daily News' Joe Neumaier, with four out of five stars, writes, "Rest and motion, specifically, are what drive the movie, as well as a thoughtful, warm depiction of male friendship. In that way, plus its appreciation of women and their inner lives, Magic Mike XXL is the anti-Entourage. ... The real eye-openers are the moments of sex-positive, woman-positive and emotion-positive contemplation. ... The bare-bones script is undeniably hoary at times, and the finale pushes the hootin’-and-hollerin’ a few beats too long, but Magic Mike XXL has extra-extra guts and even a brain. One may be on view more, but the other is what makes everything move."

The Guardian's Peter Bradshaw gives it two out of five stars. "There’s none of the physical brilliance of Tatum’s performance in the wrestling movie Foxcatcher, nor the wit and fun of his lunkish cop in 21 and 22 Jump Street. We’re back in the strangely pointless world of dry-humping pseudo-sex on stage with penises kept coyly invisible. ... It’s exactly the same thing all over again for these muscle-y romantic troubadours, except with less plot, less character, less interest and no McConaughey. ... We’re always waiting for something important or interesting to happen, but it never really does."

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