Putting away the things of childhood is the extra-extra large theme behind Magic Mike XXL. Sure there’s plenty of male skin here. But the movie, directed by Gregory Jacobs, has its serious underside: a likeable bunch of strippers’ search for their self-identities.
There’s a lot of archetypal Mars – males, physicality, energy, sex and sexual innuendo, movement, work, drive, vehicles and competition – in this story which begins three years after the events of Magic Mike. Mike Lane (Channing Tatum) has gone entrepreneurial, having launched a still financially struggling furniture-design company. Romantically, his girl friend has just passed on his marriage proposal.
A little distraction couldn’t hurt, especially when it’s a reunion proposed by his old stripper buddies: a final performance fling at the national stripper competition in Myrtle Beach. As fast as you can shout “tear-away trousers!” Mike’s packed a bag and hopped into the van.
With the exception of Dallas and The Kid (Matthew McConaughey and Alex Pettyfer, respectively, from the original film), the Kings of Tampa are all here. DJ Tobias (Gabriel Iglesias) plans to MC, Tarzan (Kevin Nash) still thinks about his time in the military while pursuing fine art, spiritually driven actor Ken (Matt Bomer) has only deepened his love for self-development, and Tito (Adam Rodriguez) is a culinary professional.
Most endearing is Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello) – lacking in self-confidence and desperate to be a husband – who’s goaded by his mates to perform a lusty solo in a convenience store to try get a female cashier to smile. His escapade is worth the price of the movie ticket.
The guys’ transport vehicle crashes in due course, landing Tobias in the hospital. With the gang minus an MC, Mike hopes to find a replacement in the person of his former girlfriend Rome (Jada Pinkett-Smith). Rome now runs her own subscription-based feminist-inspired strip establishment, where she addresses all the female patrons ogling the glistening males as “my queens.” Another pit stop involves connecting with Nancy (Andie MacDowell), who’s celebrating her divorce and whose entourage is primed to give the chaps both respect and adulation.
The events at the stripper competition is a triumph of these men’s getting out of their proverbial ruts – such as Richie’s former gravitation towards firemen costumes and routines, despite the fact he hates fire – and taking on Solar-performance roles that suggest their more substantive destinies.
Magic Mike XXL evokes a sassy, character-building bachelor party – a celebratory, no-holds barred event to usher in a Saturnine commitment to a future beyond male entertainment.
Archetype: Ecdysiast. Mover. Energizer. Entrepreneur. Athlete. Builder.
Astrology Archetype: ☉♂♄ (Sun, Mars, Saturn)