Typical Sandler: Ridiculous, Funny, and Over The Top

Pixels

            Everyone says video games are bad for you as they are too violent or rot your mind. In Adam Sandler’s latest comedy, those comments have been magnified as a race of alien beings misinterpret a deep space satellite transmission as a declaration of war and have chosen classic arcade games as their soldiers. Yes my friends, my next review is on none other than Pixels, a movie that may be one of the most ridiculous adventures to grace the theater. Hi I’m Robbie K and you’re just in time for another review on the latest “comedy” release.

When you think of Adam Sandler, as well as the plot summary above, you might tag the comedian with words like ridiculous, stupid, immature, etc. Well that might be true, but let’s focus on some good qualities of his unique imagiantion. Pixels jumps back into the 80’s to bring nostalgic memories of the endangered arcades to nerds like me and amplifies to monstrous proportions. After a fun trip back in time, we jump to the modern day world where Sandler and his typical crew are again the oddballs in popular culture. This is where one of the positives comes in, and that is Sandler’s poking at the trends, stereotypes, and culture. I chuckled at the writer’s jabs at our government system, mocking their obsession with war, country strives, and glorification of the military. In a manner along the lines of Revenge of the Nerds, nerds are shown to be powerful, using predictability and practice as the mighty tools of defense. This tired and true story line has a nice refreshing twist using games as the medium, but the story is lacking in so many ways. Most stories running tangent to the main plot are very shallow, nothing more than predictable moments that center on wishes shared by our beloved arcaders. How the aliens saw this as a threat, what they looked like, heck even the reasoning of their choices were cut short to be dumped into the flood of jokes this movie is filled with.

Speaking of jokes, Pixels is more of Adam Sandler’s tactics of being kiddy, geeky, and somehow sweet at the same time. Pixels has loads of his overdramatic, throaty yelling, often partnered with a drawn out with someone rambling on and making a fool of themselves. Other characters were drawn in to the awkward vortex as well, Peter Dinkelage especially dropping into the ludicrous 80’s punk with a heavy accent that is more annoying than funny for me. However, I did enjoy some of the humor in this movie, especially witty quips at modern culture. Being a gamer myself I also laughed at a few of the gaming scenarios as well, despite many of them being ruined in the trailers. And yet… Pixels humor gets lost in the teams inability to realize enough is enough. Sandler and his crew take their jokes too far, and don’t let up until it is too late and the jokes are super stale that only kids will be cracking up at them. Because of this lack of balance, the movie’s humor really only stays consistently funny to kids, who we know can’t get enough of the things they love.

Let’s turn our attention to the game scenes now. Pixels art directors took an interesting path for this film, as they brought the pixelated warriors to life. Most of the soldiers look like high definition renditions of minecraft sprites, obviously designed to pop out of the screen in the 3-D viewings. The arcade games are colorful though, sporting the flashy vibrant hues and shades that caught our attentions all those years ago. Life is further imbued with the sound editing, the 8-bit bings, bongs, and other digital noises filling the high definition speakers and bringing you into the moment. The designers even translated the games 2-D movements into fluid 3-D excitement as the monsters and ships battle our real life defenders. As for the adventure itself, it’s okay. The battles with the light guns start out exciting, but it doesn’t take long before you realize it’s just repeated movements of our heroes shooting left and right with the enemies barely adapting their strategy. As the journey continues, the actions gets better as the situations get a dab of cleverness added them all with an arcade twist. But…they take the scenes too far, and cross into the overdramatic zone and lose its majesty. Exaggerated moves and simple comedy can’t beef up the sequences, or improve the movie for that matter. The only thing that might have helped was the kicking 80’s soundtrack that played throughout the movie, another fine moment of nostalgia.

Okay so Pixels isn’t the greatest movie ever, and it may be more of the same Sandler movie magic we’ve come to know. However, the movie is a fun trip back to a colorful time, and retro gamers will appreciate the references they make throughout the film. There isn’t much of a story and things do go stale from time to time, but I think younger audience members will enjoy the adventure to be had. Word of warning, this movie has some fair bit of cursing. My recommendations are to hold off on this movie, as despite the cool special effects, it is not worth the high price of a ticket. The scores are:

Comedy/Action/Sci-Fi: 6.0

Movie Overall: 5.0

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You Will Go To the Paper Towns, and Most Likely Enjoy it

paper towns

                  It’s the weekend and you know what that means, yes more movies and reviews that follow them. Today we focus on yet another movie based on a book by John Green, author of the teenage love novels of the modern age. Since I haven’t read the book, a buddy of mine accompanied me to give you the most complete review possible, in hopes of giving you the 411 about this film. Hi I’m Robbie K and it is time to get our review on.

Think back to Fault in Our Stars and what do you remember? Most likely you remember the romance story between the two terminal ill kids, and the motif of living life to the fullest. Well that motif is back, the living life part not the terminal illness part, and Paper Towns dopes it up on steroids. As the trailers quote, you are supposed to feel alive every moment, and this film will beat this message into your head with repetitive dialog constantly reminding you about the purpose of the quest. Yet despite repetition, they keep the story interesting, for once providing a romance story that was actually quite entertaining. Hold the phone, did I just say an entertaining love story? Yes I did, for you see Paper Towns is a tale that has love as a major factor, but doesn’t focus on it and drown it cheesiness. It is a driving point, but our characters’ have other issues that occur alongside the love story that provides outlets from the romance focus. The whole tale is realistic, and has relevant points that don’t make it ridiculous, despite some of the stretches and rushes.

Does it match the book? According to my friend the answer is NO. The movie deviates a lot from the book, keeping a slim skeletal frame work that adjusted for the slower parts of the book, which apparently were a lot. Our film adaptation cuts through a lot of the slow parts, skipping sit around moments for the more comedic parts. I felt connected to the characters issues, and even got to know them on some level, but I think they skimped on some details that could have provided more depth. My friend also said they left out a lot of the clues, even going so far as to alter the timeline to something he found stupid and ridiculous, to which I agree.

But despite how much they adapted the story, the acting is perhaps one of the strongest components of the movie. I felt that all of our main cast did a fantastic job of playing the graduating high school student role, each capturing a quark that made our traveling band colorful. Natt Wolfe as Quentin covered a diverse set of emotions, playing the meek, studious nerd role and gradually adapting into his live for the moment, Margo obsessed persona. Quinn seems to be a natural part of Wolfe, and with the exception of a few moments, he captures the role to its fullest and keeps the stereotypical role interesting. Cara Delevigne as the mysterious Margo also brings a hipster tone to the movie, an edgy role with a little bit of innocence thrown into the mix. Not my favorite character, but she does her job of bringing the mysterious component to this film. My favorite character has to be Ben, who is the comedic relief in the movie and capable of cracking a few smiles with his awkward, clumsy, and geeky mannerisms. The rest of the cast do justice to their parts, and despite some hasty and simplistic lines, create a well–rounded cast to make the book come to life. Their performances helped me relate to the issues, and the lack of overdramatic garbage made famous in dramas kept me grounded to the issues at hand. Plus, the writing was very clever, spread throughout the movie and timed well to maximize the laughs. Lines weren’t pushed on me, and were not as expletive or crude that kept it funny and not too inappropriate.

Outside of acting and plot line what else is there to report. Well John Green’s novels continue to bring a well balanced soundtrack, with songs that are not only catchy, but matched with the right scenes at the right time. In addition, I found it a plus at a shorter than 2 hour run time, managing to capture the essence of the book without dropping into the extensive details. I do agree with my friend that I wanted more clues, for the mystery is solved in the first 45 minutes of the movie nearly dropping the “suspenseful” part of this tale. In addition, I could have done with a few more hindrances to our character’s problems that weren’t wrapped up so quickly as it was in this movie. Again, I’m sure you get this in the book, but it would have been nice to see some more of it incorporated into the film.

Paper Towns is an entertaining movie, and what I feel is a great summer teen flick for many. With relevant issues, characters that aren’t annoying, and a brisk pace in plot you have a victory you have a movie that actually is pretty interesting. Purists of the book need to brace themselves for the changes, or avoid the movie altogether. And if you are looking for the intimate love story that was Fault in our Stars, then check yourself again. Fans looking for a good drama/comedy this summer I encourage to check this out, but there wasn’t enough to recommend a trip to theater for this one.

My scores are:

Drama/Mystery/Romance: 7.5

Movie Overall: 7.0

Like Ants Go Marching To The Theater

Antman

            Marvel has entered its third wave and the intended schedule shows a lot of “origin” stories in the works. When it comes to these starter films, Marvel has been hit or miss, in my opininon, and sometimes can leave you a bit disappointed. This weekend we got Ant-Man in the works, a tale I didn’t have much hope for in terms of quality Marvel movies. However, could there be surprises in store that will make this enjoyable, you never know. Hi I’m Robbie K and this is another Robbie Review.

When you hear the name Ant-Man you might just laugh at the lame title he holds. I mean how can someone like that be a real threat? Well don’t count him out yet, as those of the lore know that big things do indeed come in small packages. Ant-Man surprisingly has quite an array of powers, the classic one being shrinking to the size of an ant to infiltrate whatever fortress he is assigned. Yet by reaching this size he obtains heightened speed, strength, and agility that when combined with a training montage led by Evangeline Lilly leads to a top notch weapon. The pint sized hero also gains the technology to communicate with ants, and use their versatile nature in his assignments, which again might sound like a wimpy power but holds incredible potential. This leads me to my favorite part of this movie: the action.

            Director Peyton Reed has coordinated his team to make an exciting film that has plenty of fast paced, punch throwing moments that will have you wheeling in delight. Ant-man’s action starts with a comedic training sequence to warm you up, but then cascades into some big stunts filled with numerous shots of Paul Rudd disappearing and reappearing in front of his opponent. Sure this gets stale, but fortunately they mix things up as the camera dives into artificial scenes of war, which are often simple areas like carpeted floors and grass but from an ant’s perspective. And speaking of ants, the team brought a great dynamic with the ants, establish a foot soldier motif with them and having them coordinate strikes. I felt like I was back in Star Wars again as flying ants led ground troops into the heart of danger, often with accompanying laser sounds to add more galactic atmosphere to it. All of the graphics involved with this are impressive, solid movement, good definition, and some bright special effects as well. Overall the action is decent.

The big factor that most are going to enjoy I feel is the comedy. Ant-Man does a great job of relieving the stress with multiple comedic moments that range from situational slapstick to well timed quips. Paul Rudd leads the comedy with his acting, managing to bring his typical self into the part and leave you chuckling. The writing is clever and delivered with just the right intensity to sell the line and maximize the laughs. Michael Douglas also brings a set of laughs to the mix and his blunt mannerisms are welcomed as he zings the characters with witty dialogue. Michael Pena helps with the simpler comedy, using his talents to please the audience members who love the more ridiculous and exaggerated moments. His voice was probably the funniest aspect of his moments and the director limiting the number of jokes with him was also a smart move. Outside of the actors, Ant-Man has some other fun trinkets, including turning a toy train set into a “death” arena, anthropomorphic qualities in ants, and a few comic surprises that cap everything. This film is certainly one of Marvel’s most humorous projects, and did a nice job balancing the laughs with the action.

But alas there were a few things that fell off the scale and could have used some tweaking. At the beginning the plot is very rushed, with little hindrance and in depth character development. His initiation is practically dull, his training almost devoid of any real struggle, and even the magnitude of the crime he committed was blown over. Another weakness was Hank and Hope’s relationship, the tension and drama are there, but the details remain hidden and suddenly are dropped in at once. Then the second half of the movie happens and that is when the entertaining and intriguing moments happen. There is also a lot of predictability in this tale as well, lacking any real twist or surprise, but that is only a minor thing. This is when connections to the other movies happen and the plot development and tension occur. Outside of the plot, the action does get a little repetitive with the whole shrinking and expanding moment, and I could have been happier with more ant moments.

I got to say that Ant-Man is a well done intro film that has a little something for everyone. The action is fitting, the comedy clever and balanced, and the movie overall fun and entertaining. The story needs some tweaking, and it definitely has some other areas that weren’t the jaw dropping experience we’ve had in the past. Yet I feel it is a good and fun blockbuster for the summer. I encourage many to go have fun with this movie, but avoid the 3-D aspect because I don’t see it adding much to the film for the extra cost.

My scores are:

Action/Sci-Fi: 8.0

Movie Overall: 8.0

Don’t Get Hung Up on This One

The Gallows

            Let’s skip the fancy introductions and word play, this is another Robbie K review with a focus on yet another horror movie. Today we jump into the latest teen horror movie entitled the Gallows, which also acts as another attempt to revive found footage films. From the trailers it looks “interesting” (to be nice), but I didn’t hold much hope for this film. So let’s get started…

Like most found footage films you can expect bumpy camera work giving you details about the perilous journey to unfold. I have to admit that the camera work isn’t too horrible in this film, most of the time stable enough to give you the same shots of the abandoned school. The crew also gets points for some clever ideas on switching the camera perspective from the camcorder that starts our journey to cell phones equipped with a night vision application. But the good stops there. Much of the time our cast is running from the unseen force that is Charlie, the camera unfortunately swaying to and fro with not stability. Sure it brings a little more reality and edge to the picture, but too much of it left me annoyed at the lack of details. In addition, the multiple camera angles were an interesting twist, but they were executed in the wrong manner. When the doors close and you hear someone screaming you can get an idea of what is going on? So why then do I have to see footage minutes later showing what I pretty much already knew. To do this not once, but about three times didn’t make it any better, and much of the time was more cheesy than anything else. Oh well, with a $100,000 budget, I guess you have to get as creative as you can right?

But you probably want to know if the Gallows is scary right? In a one word summary, NO. The Gallows is cheesy, all horror drowned out by the ridiculous characters tale integrated around it. At first you get the chills as the suspense builds and you wait for that first moment of terror. In fact, the scariest part of the whole movie is the setting itself, a school after hours where one can feel abandoned in the dark hallowed halls. Why is a school so scary? Most likely because it is real, a place we can all relate to, one that is supposed to safe from such horrible fates. That comfort is robbed though when the school closes and the lights go out, the unknown frontier of the dark instigating that primal urge of fear. But past the dark halls, the scares are diluted to comical level. For one thing, the teenagers are idiots, obnoxious, rude, and annoying examples portraying the typical behavior of the average American youth. I found myself having no pity for them, waiting for their stupidity to get them in a situation they couldn’t talk their way out of. In addition that building suspense is rapidly dropped, as the hunt unfolds in a manner of minutes, each predictable moment unfolding the way you expect. And the story that explains all this is rather… lame. At first it seems a simplistic tale of Charlie exacting revenge on pay defilers, but it quickly becomes more convoluted, a plot that has a few soap opera factors to it that again make it cheesy.

            As for Charlie himself, well the team dropped the ball on that one too. Again they started off strong, doing some subtle, traditional scare tactics that invisible specters do. Your imagination begins to paint a scary, creepy picture of what the creature looks like, and what tools he will use to torture our victims. Then you see him for what he is and well… it is very disappointing. Charlie is just a modern looking version of Jason Voorhees where the mask is replaced with a sack, and the machete is replaced with a noose that can skirt ceilings. This diluted version lacks the edge that the classic killer had and quite honestly represents the product of a low budget. There isn’t much more I can say about this, other than Charlie’s main scare is his lurking in the shadows in that manner that makes you want to look over your shoulder.

The Gallows is a movie that is as cheesy and cheap as the budget they used to make the film. A film filled with predictable scares, a shallow story, and obnoxious characters do not make for a good scare film. Throw in the camerawork, lack of diversity and low budget villain and again you don’t have much to go on. Thus, this reviewer cannot recommend this film for the theater, and would say it was better cast on the SyFy channel where cheesiness is welcomed. I can’t even think of a group to go see this in the theater other than teenagers looking for a good, “cheap” scare.

My scores are:

Horror/Thriller: 4.5

Movie Overall: 3

Cute, Cuddly, and Minion Antics on Steroids!

Minions

            We’ve all had moments where we speak gibberish, but none of us match the skill level of babbling utter nonsense like the Minions of Despicable Me. The cute, cuddly, yellow bodied blobs have entertained for the past few years with their antics, communicating in their special language that remains undecipherable to me this day. Turns out they are so popular Hollywood has decided to give them their own movie, one that is sure to provide hours of fun for all ages alike. So with all the advertisement and hype, you may be wondering what this movie has in store. Fortunately I am here to help, so sit back and read the latest review.

If I were to summarize this movie in one word it would be CUTE. The animation studio has managed to bring all the cuddliness of Gru’s henchmen and unleash it tenfold on the screen. Sure there were some adorable moments in Despicable Me movies, but Minions takes it to the next level with squeaky voices, petite faces and huggable goodness. Boys and girls, men and women of all ages will be awing as our three heroes traverse the elements to find their new boss. Bob in particular was the cutest as he jumps into the adventure with eager eyes, and a beat up teddy bear. In truth it is like watching three small children go on an impossible voyage, constantly failing, but doing so in a manner that pulls at your heart strings.

Minions is also a very happy and energetic movie, the youthful antics of the minions bringing a positive vibe to the theater that you feed on. The movie is simply fun, the pint sized aspiring villains living life to the fullest as they explore the city. Because of their enhanced biology, or whatever force makes them nearly invincible, the sky is the limit for what troubles they can get into. Normal devices that are meant to be horrifying, or extremely violent have now been diluted to playground level fun, sugar coated with the Minion cuteness to distract from their true meaning. Bombs, guns, bank robbing, etc, it’s all just a big game run by naïve munchkins and a world full of extreme personalities that make for very one dimensional characters.

Surely you are asking one thing in your mind though, is it funny? The answer is yes, Minions is definitely a humor filled movie targeted for the young and young at heart. Slapstick comedy unfolds as the Minions pull off three stooges ploys as they slap, crush, and blow up everything around them. Their klutziness, and again their versatile bodies, allows reality to be shattered and for them to survive anything. As you can guess the Minions gibberish is also very entertaining, the random babbling made funny in the delivery as they add their voice modifications to the mix. Again Bob has the funniest sounds, as his high pitched squabble makes him my favorite. Voices and slapstick aside, the funniest aspect for me are the built in references to the movie in terms of song and movie numbers. I spent my time trying to figure out what movies the scenes were from, having to rely on my mentor to help fill in some of the details, especially those that were about classic bands or plays. Whatever source you find funny, let it be known that Minions is going to get you chuckling at some point in the film. However…

Like everything there is a balance that is greatly needed in its film and the major downfall of this movie is doing too much of one thing. First the gibberish thing, it’s nice to get that ridiculous language in spurts like in Despicable Me, but in this movie it took too much focus. A lack of dialog was annoying, the mindless gibberish losing its appeal to me without supporting dialog to provide relief from the Minion’s language. The slapstick saved it somewhat, the variety in the comedic situations assisting with keeping things fresh. My friend pointed out that Minion antics are fun in small doses, but this movie abuses their antics to the maximum level. The young and obsessed won’t care, but I could have used a better story to ground the adventure a bit. The simplistic tale was also not the most thrilling, the tale very formulaic and lacking in character development. Even the villain Scarlet Overkill didn’t hold much strength, and was thrown to the back behind the minions. In addition, about half the movie had been revealed in the six trailers they have shown, especially the fun opening, but the parts that weren’t ruined are still entertaining. The limited voice acting is decent, but when all you are doing is babbling like an idiot, there isn’t much to really be impressed with, even with the great Sandra Bullock leading the group.

Minions is the adventure you are all expecting it to be, a mashup of cute, positive, fun that will have you chuckling most of the way. Chances are if you are obsessed with the little guys in Despicable Me, you are going to find no fault in this movie. However, Minions leaves a lot to be wanted, including story, character development, and some more clever humor that could work with the language. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoyed myself with a lot of the humor here, but my scores have to entail everything and this movie could have been made straight to TV. I recommend a trip to the theater with a group, or taking your young ones, but please don’t be persuaded to see the 3-D version.

My scores are:

Animation, Comedy, Family: 7.5-8.0

Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0

A Decent Start To A Regenerated Series

genisys

            “I’ll be back!” These words continue to be quoted and memed in just about every aspect of social media. The Terminator franchise has given plenty of memorable moments over the last thirty one years. And like every movie involving time travel, there seems to be no end in sight for ever closing the series down, doing anything possible to get another film out. This holiday weekend, the fifth installment is unleashed, once more to make the universe more complicated than ever. So let’s get to work reviewing Terminator Genisys and see what’s in store.

If there is one thing that we know about Terminator films it is a robot relentlessly pursuing a human. Genisys is no exception, but this time ups the factor by three as numerous machines hunt our protagonists, at least in the beginning. Nostalgia ran high for me as I tried to catch all the references integrated in this new tale with the timeline, or perhaps timelines, set up by the events. Genisys will throw your mind for a whirl in the beginning as a convoluted display of theoretical physics alters the Terminator timeline. Eventually the pieces start falling in to place, a combination of repetitive flashbacks and dialog will help solidify the main points while also annoying getting on your nerves. Though the pace is fast, the movie does have some decent character building moments amidst our cast that again reference a lot of movies. The characters are able to bring humor to the film as well, as well timed jokes provide relief from the explosions and tension of the movie. Yes some of the jokes are beaten to death, but it isn’t too bad.

However, the plot is very predictable, the foreshadowing painting an obvious picture of what is to unfold in the coming hours. I mean how can you not predict what is going to happen when Sarah asks a random, off the side question, despite being in a combat situation. In addition, the movie has lost the originality that the series was famous for, making the film somewhat lackluster on some levels. Sure seeing the previous Terminator models come back was cool, but honestly I’m getting tired of all the time hopping back to the same point. After all… how many times can Skynet attempt to kill Sarah at the same point in time. Even the character development can’t save the movie, because it devolved into petty arguments that diluted the plot and made it stale. How did I continue to get baited into the tale? The writers managed to introduce some “new” components in the story, questions that still remain unanswered by the end of the movie to net you into the coming sequel. Overall the plot is okay, but not the most exciting.

What about the action? Terminator Genisys has a lot of action packed moments in its two hours, filled to the brim with special effects. The directing team did a good job in spanning the war across all fronts. We get a few shots of the post-apocalyptic Earth war, whose futuristic weapons and CGI combatants make you feel like you are in a video game. In the “past” though the action remains okay, the gunplay in particular starting out thrilling as see Sarah and Kyle handle military grade weapons with ease. Hand to hand, the actions wasn’t special, primarily numerous sequences of Arnold and Jason Clarke savagely smashing each other against walls, or a cheap prop. Brute strength is a recurring theme in this movie, and one that needs to be changed in the future. Even the gunplay gets old, as our heroes continue to pump lead into creatures we all know by now don’t fall to conventional warfare.

Special effects wise, it is not that bad, but also not the best thing I have ever seen. The makeup and prosthetics are good for me, as the department has blended metal and flesh together in a manner similar to the first. In the CGI department the animation is fluid and savage, but the looks of the robots begin to lose its realistic edge, sometimes becoming cheesy looking, as things evolve. Lace all of this with enough explosions to give Michael Bay a run for his money, and you have what Genisys’ actions scenes primarily involve. One thing I want to add, is that I felt the movie did a god job integrating the action with the story, and providing relevancy to most of the battles.

Overall Terminator Genisys is a fine restart to the series, and a decent movie overall. While the directors need to work on balance, originality, and spicing up their action scenes, I feel the Terminator series shows some promise down the line. I can say I enjoyed this one better than Salvation, but it still doesn’t rise up to the standards the first two did. This reviewer recommends going to the theater to those who are: big fans of the series, want a decent action film, or are die hard Arnold Schwarzenegger fans. Otherwise catch this film in RedBox later on.

My scores for the movie are:

Action/Adventure/Sci-Fi: 7.5

Movie Overall: 6.5-7.0

An Endless Ab Party That Lacks So Much

Magic Mike XXL._V1_SX214_AL_

            We all remember that summer three years ago, when that masterpiece of a movie known as Magic Mike graced… *has to stop writing because he is laughing so hard* I can’t even begin to describe the faults with the stripper movie, yet someone thought it was a good idea to make a second one. So here I am on the first of July jumping into review the latest woman targeted film, which had plenty flocking to the local theater. Gear up my friends, and get set for another wild reviewing ride from yours truly.

As a disclaimer, I’m looking at this movie for quality, not on it’s ability to entertain, two terms many seem to group together. Thus, you can bet that Magic Mike 2’s quality certainly doesn’t bode well in terms of a good film. Once more the plot is slop, a culmination of shallow story writing to act as flimsy support to the sequences of shirtless men dancing in numerous settings. The theme of our tale… SEX masked in the constant iteration that it’s all about respect and living your dream. I applaud their attempt to put other aspects in the film to develop Mike (Channing Tatum) and his crew’s characters, but to me the writers couldn’t figure out what path to take so just hastily pasted them into the script. These tangents did nothing more than waste time, as they conveniently provided opportunities for our strippers to show us their talents, while “helping” out the community in the process.

What made the tangents even worse was the lack of good dialogue to keep me interested or entertained. Many times I expected some kind of romantic banter, or some hot insult that helped sell the “tension” in the group. Instead, the writers fail again, filling our boys mouths with cheesy innuendos, horrible pick up lines, and a bombardment of F words. Glad to see such talent coming our way for future movies. Most of the time the dialog wasn’t funny, and they had Gabriel Iglesias in the film, who can really dish out some memorable quotes. The excuse of this movie wasn’t targeted at being funny is a shallow explanation for two reasons. First, Magic Mike XXL is characterized as a comedy and that usually means laughing. Second what woman doesn’t like to laugh? Instead, the team decided to ditch the fluffy man early in the movie, and open up space for Jada Pinkett Smith, and her lacking story. The acting itself didn’t help either, with only Smith, Tatum, and Donald Glover really doing anything I can consider decent, the former of which still surprises me she agreed to this movie.

You can see there is a lot of bad to this movie, but I wouldn’t be doing my job if I didn’t address some of the positives present, despite how limited they are. We know most are going to this film for the gorgeous beefcakes lighting up the stage. You’ll be glad to know that Mike and his buddies are back in all their sweaty glory, six packs and all glistening in the lights. Women in my theater were grinding into their seats, making accompanying noises, as the men grinded about the women. The stripper squad will tease female audience members in many ways, some involving syrup, sprinkles, and even stuff at out of 50 shades. Women will scream, giggle, and drool, while men will shake their head, groan is dismay, or like me try to gouge their eyes out. However, past the bumping and grinding, the dance numbers are actually impressive, especially when Tatum busts out his moves and shows some impressive feats of strength. I have to give the design team some props for their creative numbers as well, the choreography quite a spectacle at times when you see the coordination, before it transforms back to light porn. A music soundtrack helps out as well, all of the numbers capturing the mood and going with the setting. Unfortunately most are hip-hop and rap tracks with a focus on guess what… SEX, which has become stale for me at this time.

Overall, Magic Mike is a bumping, grinding, stripper experience that does its job of being eye candy. It’s got moves, it’s got tunes, and it’s got the sexual hard core drive though with a little more finesse. Fans of the first one are going to most likely enjoy this installment, perhaps to the point of a third installment “gracing” the screen. The movie lacks in a lot of things though including story, acting, comedy, and class; plus it could have used some major editing to bring down the time limit. No surprise that I can’t recommend a theater trip for this one, except for those looking for single minded body thrills and gawking at abs the size of a wall. Factoring in everything, my scores are:

Comedy, Drama, Musical: 5.5

Movie Overall: 4.5