Beach Blanket Buns-o: is Magic Mike XXL a Beach Party movie…with stripping?
My Significant Other and I recently saw Magic Mike XXL, and we both enjoyed it.
Honestly, I thought it was fun. I like to look at what a movie tried to do and how well it did it. A movie can fail by trying to be significant or meaningful (or funny or scary), and not achieving that goal. On the other hand, a movie can succeed by setting a less lofty goal, and solidly achieving it.
We wanted to see the new movie because we are fans of So You Think You Can Dance, and more specifically, tWitch. tWitch has a big role in this film, and we wanted to support him and to see him dance.
In preparation, we watched the first movie. We thought that one was okay…it had some dark elements, and was a bit mumblecore…for us, it set a high bar which it didn’t quite reach.
The second one?
It’s a cartoon, or perhaps more appropriately, a movie musical. It’s not supposed to be real: it’s a fantasy.
More specifically, it’s like one of the AIP (American International Pictures) of the 1960s.
That might seem like an odd parallel, but let’s look at it a bit more deeply. I’ll give you a spoiler alert here, but really, this movie is not about the plot. 🙂
First, we’ll just swap out male stripping for surfing.
Second, we say that Channing Tatum’s Mike character is Frankie Avalon’s Frankie.
So, Frankie/Mike used to be a surfer/stripper with a bunch of friends. They were good, but not famous…just well-known locally.
It’s not considered a “respectable life”, though, and Frankie/Mike has left it…opened a custom furniture business.
Frankie/Mike gets a call from one of his old friends. They are going to a big surfing/stripping convention for one last time, and trick Frankie/Mike into joining them.
Among the friends are Deadhead/Big Dick Ritchie (Jody McRae/Joe Manganiello), a lovable lunkhead with some confidence issues. Also there: an entrepreneur who isn’t part of the performing group (but does the announcing). Big Drip/Tobias (Don Rickles/Gabriel Iglesias) owns an Ice Cream Truck/Frozen Yogurt Truck, which they are using to make the trip.
Frankie/Mike wants them to try some new things in their performance. Deadhead/BDR isn’t comfortable with changing, but Frankie/Mike encourages him, and is successful in getting him to perform in a new way.
While on the way, they are having a bonding moment, and the Ice Cream Truck/FroYo Truck crashes, putting Big Drip/Tobias in the hospital. Since Big Drip/Tobias is normally the emcee for their performing, they may not be able to have their grand good-bye. Fortunately, Frankie/Mike can go to an old flame to possibly emcee.
The old flame, Dee Dee/Rome (Annette Funicello/Jada Pinkett Smith) gives Frankie/Mike a hard time, and requires him to have a competition with her best surfer/stripper (Deborah Walley/tWitch). Frankie/Mike proves his worth, and Dee Dee/Rome goes with them and they have a great performance.
It’s not quite a perfect analogy…a Beach Party movie would have had Eric Von Zipper and his Rats & Mice trying to prevent their success in some way (and failing), but outside of that, I’d say the feel of it is pretty similar.
You know, except for the stripping… 😉
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