A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that Magic Mike XXL is the sequel to 2012's hit Magic Mike, a story about male strippers that was loosely inspired by superstar Channing Tatum's real-life experiences. Like the original, the sequel features lots of scenes of men stripping, dancing provocatively, mimicking sexual positions and movements, and wearing nothing but tight thongs that leave little to the imagination. Although there's no full-frontal nudity, the strip dances are incredibly sexual and choreographed to arouse the women who are watching (or participating) in the dances. Some of the women also wear tight/revealing clothing, and some are hauled around/positioned in a fairly heavy-handed way -- although, on the flip side, women of all ages and body sizes are "celebrated" by the men. The language is also extremely coarse, with "f--k" said in nearly every scene. There's also lots of drinking and some substance use/abuse, including a man driving under the influence of Ecstasy.
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What's the story?
MAGIC MIKE XXL picks up a few years after the events of Magic Mike. Mike (Channing Tatum)still lives in Tampa, but now he owns his own custom furniture company. One day he gets a call from Tarzan (Kevin Nash) saying "Dallas is gone" -- and Tarzan and the rest of the old crew are in town to celebrate his memory. It turns out that Dallas (played by Matthew McConaughey in the first movie) is literally gone -- as in out of the country and the story -- but not dead. The guys -- including Big Dick Richie (Joe Manganiello), Tito (Adam Rodriguez), Ken (Matt Bomer), and Tarzan -- just wanted to see Mike on their way to an annual strippers' conference in Myrtle Beach. After a night of fun with his old friends, Mike hears one of his old dance songs and decides to join the group for one final show. From then on, the movie turns into a wacky road trip comedy with plenty of stops -- and reasons to dance -- on the way.
Is it any good?
Without Steven Soderbergh directing or McConaughey as Dallas, Magic Mike XXL is noticeably shallower than the original. However, the combo of Tatum and his crew and new addition Jada Pinkett Smith makes for a fun, frivolous show. Let's be clear: There's not much to the plot of this movie. Mike joins his pals for one more night of strutting and stripping, but first he has to convince a former lover, Rome (Pinkett Smith), to emcee their routines. Other stuff happens too -- like the guys ending up in a Southern mansion full of rich first wives led by none other than Andie Macdowell, or their original emcee needing hospitalization after crashing their food truck van -- but it's all just side dressing to allow for more stripping shenanigans.
Thank goodness the romance is downplayed in the sequel, because it never worked in Magic Mike. Amber Heard's Zoe is considerably better as a possible love interest for Mike, but his true love story is with the other men who've danced alongside him for years. Their bond as men who "make women smile" for a living is the driving force of the Magic Mike movies, and their hilarious banter -- and fabulously choreographed dance scenes (a few courtesy of professional hip-hop dancer Stephen "tWitch" Boss) -- make up for the barely there plot. This isn't really a film for teens, obviously, but adults looking for a fun couple of hours of dancing and kidding around could do a lot worse.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about how Magic Mike XXL depicts male strippers. Is their lifestyle glamorized? What are the challenges -- and consequences -- they face?
Is the partial nudity in the movie gratuitous or is necessary to the story? Is there a different standard for nudity/sexuality in movies than there is for violence? Should there be? At what age is it OK for kids to watch sexy stuff in movies?
Discuss how sex and men's attractiveness are depicted in the movie. What role does media play in boys' body image?
- In theaters: July 1, 2015
- On DVD or streaming: October 6, 2015
- Cast: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez
- Director: Gregory Jacobs
- Studio: Warner Bros.
- Genre: Comedy
- Topics: Friendship
- Run time: 115 minutes
- MPAA rating: R
- MPAA explanation: strong sexual content, pervasive language, some nudity and drug use
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