I was pleasantly surprised by the first Magic Mike, a movie that was both funnier than I thought it would be and much more about the Great Recession than I thought it would be. But this is an entirely different movie.
This one is a road movie, which is probably a good thing in some sense, as it is not trying to be the same film as the first. But, for me, it works nowhere nearly as well.
Firstly, the surprise of the first film is totally gone: I was surprised by how entertaining it was and I was surprised that it was about something other than stripping. There’s no surprise here, beyond more famous people, I guess.
I did laugh periodically but it did few like the jokes were fewer. Or, perhaps, they were less effective. It does feel like the stunt casting is, in part, substituting for better jokes and a better story.
The story is a typical road movie one: some friends go on the road, having to reluctantly persuade one of them, with a destination that will change them, and they have some zany experiences along the way. Despite the twist of this film being about male strippers on the road, it checks a number of road movie boxes.
I can see the appeal, as a sequel, for people who really liked the first movie. The gang is mostly back together, and they have a good time. (And there is a fair amount of dancing.) But, to me, it feels like one of those sequels that exist because some people who made an earlier movie wanted to make another one together. It doesn’t feel that thematically similar to the original, and it doesn’t really add anything to the first movie, to me.
But the performances are good. And I laughed a few times.