Archive for the ‘Jada Pinkett Smith’ Category

Magic Mike XXL

31 Jul

Magic Mike XXL – directed by Gregory Jacobs. Comedrama. 115 minutes Color 2015.


The Story: A gaggle of male strippers veers to Florida for a grand finale to their careers.


A picaresque backstage musical – or perhaps we should say buttstage musical – or backside musical. For Channing Tatum when he drops his drawers sure is callipygian.

But don’t expect no full Monties here. Their private personalities remain studiously reserved behind sequined pouches. And this puts the show on a different footing from what actual male stripper shows offer, which is pornography in the flesh. Pornography is unearned nudity. The price of admission to this movie does not include this on the menu.

Instead, we get a level of comedy, drama, and human interest of a parallel order, not too distant from smut, fortunately, because what’s low-down in life may have the robustness of its own vulgarity to recommend it and can be a lot of fun to boot.

The boys are aging burlesque kings. They have exhausted their talents, mislaid them, or mis-apprised them. So the drama consists of their getting their acts together in such a way that each of those acts becomes truly personal to each performer.

In a pal’s taco truck, they make a journey down the East Coast to The Big Florida Competition. On their way they take a detour or two.

One of them is the plantation of a free wheeling widow, gorgeously played by Andie McDowell. She allows herself a flutter with the title character, XXL, an Adonis, saddened because so overly endowed that no woman has ever quite fitted him.

Another detour spots the fellows in a sex club run by Jada Pinkett Smith – and, if for no other reason, the film is worth seeing because of her. She’s the former doyenne of Tatum. She carries a torch. She also operates an establishment in which all the women are treated to male-flesh danced before them in tribute to their wildest dreams. Smith’s creation of her relation to Tatum is something to behold, the space she seizes for the character to operate in and be known is a lesson in acting command and dignity. I’m going to see the film again just to watch her make room for herself.

To watch her character be wrong, and the actress dare to let this happen. You’ll see.

Anyhow. she plays a great big part in the film. Jada Pinkett Smith is clearly an actor who should be declared a National Park. Yellowstone The Black Canyon Of The Gunnison, Jada Pinkett Smith – we must preserve these treasures with our attention.

Leading this troupe into the dance lists of Florida is Channing Tatum, who at 35 is a ripe fig about to fall. So this film comes at just the right moment for him.

Two things make him good. The first is that he is a natural dancer – a talent demonstrated at the start when, although well established in a new career, he first hears of the Florida completion, and tosses his body into the nostalgic moves.

The second thing is that he is an excellent natural actor, having learned his craft through a bunch of films. His endowment consists of a sensibility which is fluid, responsive, witty, open. He’s so good looking you might think he’s not worth watching, but his face is more interesting than handsome, but flexible and alive, because the actor himself is these things.

I am not turned on by burlesque, male or female. But, male chauvinism be-damned, one of the aspects women love in males is the sexual rooster. Here these males preen it in their gaudiest feathers.

And perhaps the dances these blokes do in the faces of all these ladies are really no more than valentines to honor the sexual liberty every creature has a right to. The prig, the prude, and the puritan have their place in this world. But so does the God Priapus. For, if this film is any indication, the God Priapus has a much better sense of humor.



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Posted in Andie McDowell, Channing Tatum, Jada Pinkett Smith, MUSICAL NUMBERS

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