Screen Magic if you like your pleasures extra sweet

In the last week I have had the unexpected pleasure of viewing Magic Mike XXL twice. I wasn’t planning to. It just worked out that way. It’s been interesting, since then, to note the pretty mixed reviews the film has got. People seem be split down the middle over whether the film works or not. My take is this: if you loved the rather dour and pessimistic plotline of the original Magic Mike, you’ll hate the new film. If you’re looking for any kind of plausible plot or character development you’ll hate the new film. If you’re looking for a happy ending – well, somebody gets one but it’s certainly not universal.

But if your idea of a good night out is a comfortable (-ish) seat with a bucket of popcorn and Channing Tatum and the Kings of Tampa getting it on right in your face – you’re in for a treat. It’s cheesy, silly, and just a little bit clever, the screen is awash in gym-toned flesh and it made me feel good. No film needs to do more than that. Here’s the review I wrote for the film:

“Pure escapism bathed in Southern sunshine”

Okay, it’s official: this is my feel-good movie of 2015. Nothing’s going to top it. It’s funny, clever, and surprisingly subversive. And as for that boy – you know, the one who can dance – he’s finally got old enough to begin to be interesting. And, dear lord, he can still dance!

Magic Mike XXL is an altogether lighter, frothier confection than its predecessor. There’s not much room here for serious plot structure – it’s pure escapism bathed in Southern sunshine and marinated in a cocktail of pecs, biceps and spray-on tan. All the remaining characters from the original film get a bit more character development, but it’s not overdone; watching this film is far from being an intellectual exercise.

The film is full of parody, and sends itself up as much as the other films it references. Mike’s familiar ineffectual bumbling, here ramped up to an almost irritating degree, masks an incisive mind that is at work manipulating the rest of his crew until at the final moment they are all exactly where he wants them to be. This is where Channing Tatum shines: in a darker character, these machinations would be sinister or chilling, but he only wants what’s best for everybody – and in a film as light and sweet as candy floss everyone can get what they deserve, even if it’s only for five minutes under the spotlights in a rowdy club.

There were a couple of reluctant boyfriends amongst the overwhelmingly female audience at the cinema, and they both belly-laughed within the first few minutes. It’s good. Don’t take my word for it. You deserve to have the same goofy grin on your face – pure pleasure.