It's really a shame this movie isn't just a little worse. Because, if it were, it would live in the lexicon of Showgirls bad.
Instead, It's like Martin Scorsese directed a very long and lurid television pilot called Stripping with the Stars. If you thought the first Magic Mike installment took itself seriously, then you ain't seen nothin' yet, not until you see this self-important wall-calendar about a bunch of old strippers borrowing a car to get to a motel in Florida for one last flesh display before retiring.
I'm not kidding, that's the entire plot. They need a ride.
As bad as it is, I couldn't help but dream of writing the libretto for the future Broadway musical entry for this franchise, since virtually every line of dialogue sounds like a song cue. I believe I'll open with the number "I'm Not a Fireman--I Am a Male Entertainer," replete with strippers in emergency uniforms, sliding poles and Elephant Man masks. Followed by the ballad, "I Love You Like a Bro."
Now, let's be frank, Channing Tatum is a one of the most charismatic movie stars in a generation, and the movie's at its best when it's just...him. You see, Channing is the only member of this overaged exotic dance posse that can convincingly dance, strip or flip in the air for dollar bills.
It's true; he's a sex-angel on film, dear God.
There, I said it.
The rest of them have to be creatively filmed and edited not to look like Lou Ferrigno in a g-string.
Fleeting moments of this film are exhilaratingly embarrassing. Like when we discover Jada Pinkett Smith as an old, nearly-nude, and stoned proprietor of a private stripping bordello for sexually-starved housewives purr to Channing, "What'ch you doin' back up in here?" (another great song title).
Or, BEST OF ALL, when Andie McDowell (no stranger to providing uncomfortable screen moments) outdoes herself as a rich, lonely, Southern, sex-starved divorcee who encounters the team of male entertainers in her home while hosting a wine party for other ladies of her ilk. (Again, they're looking for a car to borrow.) Her hungry soliloquy for affection in front of her friends, strippers, daughter, and friends is one of the most cringe-worthy scenes you'll encounter this, or any, year. How cringe-worthy? Imagine having to watch Henry Kissinger eat spaghetti-in-a-cone on a beach, wearing a speedo. That uncomfortably off-putting.
Especially when it's revealed (the next morning) that Andie is the only woman ever encountered with the vaginal flexibility to host the troupe's most endowed performer. I just don't want to consider any part of that, but it does get the boys the keys to her car. Maybe a dance number in the musical, kinda like "Laurie's Dream Ballet," could illustrate this plot-point. I'm not sure.
But it's Elizabeth Banks who shows up to deliver what will be the eleven o'clock number, "It's Show-time, Not Bro-time," as the group delivers their farewell performance in front of a rabidly lecherous crowd of demanding ladies. This got me thinking; if any five minutes of this movie were done in sex-reversal, it would be considered vile and degrading.
The double standard is rich, to say the least.
One day this kind of, ahem, entertainment will be considered terribly un-PC. So let's enjoy stud-ploitation as long as it lasts.
(Loudinni specializes in reviews that can be read in under a minute and don't give away too much of the plot, when there is a plot.)