We’re all sophisticated, smart and talented women over here who really appreciate art and culture. That being said, sometimes we just want to watch hot dudes shaking what their mamas gave them. Magic Mike XXL has all the fun (read: abs) of Magic Mike without any of the trifling details, like plot. There’s also 100% less full frontal which is either a blessing or a curse, we’ll let you decide.
The boys are back in town in this new movie and truth be told, they’re better than ever. This flick touches on (more like “grinds sensually on”) themes of self discovery. As each dude finds his mojo (spoiler: Joe Manganiello is a huge Backstreet Boys fan) they become more lovable. Still, the real hero of this movie isn’t one of them. It’s Jada Pinkett Smith.
The notorious JPS plays Rome, a dancer from Mike’s past who has since gone on to become a mogul with a giant house full of hot dudes. Rome helps Mike + Co get to Myrtle Beach for their stripper convention and ultimately saves the group by becoming their emcee. We’re not sure what thetan level you have to get to to get to chill out with gyrating guys and get paid for it but we’re definitely thinking more serious about the benefits of Scientology after watching her performance. Here’s why JPS stole the show.
Magic Mike XXL spoilers ahead but don’t worry we won’t reveal the twist ending. JK, everything was beautiful and nothing hurt.
She girl bossed all over the place: Mike quits the stripping game and starts making (really ugly) furniture and not a lot of money. Rome quits and starts an empire that includes a subscription party business run out of her kick a** mansion filled with the aforementioned smoking hot dudes.
She supports other women: When writing a strong female character the impulse too often is to make them hard and competitive with other women. JPS don’t play that. Rome’s whole business model focuses on making women happy and encouraging them. She refers to all the women who come to her as Queens and insist they demand the worship they deserve and embrace their inner beauty. We kind of want her to follow us around all day and pump us up when we get tired at work. “Hey there, queen,” she’d say. “I know you feel bad because you ate all the donuts in the break room and you can’t think about what to write but you are a goddess inside so you better work it.” And then Matt Bomer would come dance on us. We’d be fine with that.
She encourages people to follow their dreams: Donald Glover plays one of Rome’s house dancers in the movie but his specialty is rapping about the women who come in (shout out to Caroline who, when asked what her favorite thing was, said “alcohol”). He says Rome encouraged him to bring his passion for music into his work and helped him make his debut album. We would watch a whole movie of JPS mentoring Donald Glover through his music career (but then again we’d watch Donald Glover do A LOT of things).
Her fashion is on point: We thought fedoras were just for jerk dudes on the internet but JPS proved us woefully wrong. Homegirl rocks all kinds of looks that we want to steal. A pink power suit? Yes please! Sparkly black tuxedo vest? We’re there! She manages to look powerful even in a white teddy and rocks masculine looks with uber femme touches. She proves that you can radiate power even in pink. Feel inspired? Try these cool menswear inspired looks for women.
A relationship is not the end goal: Another strong female character trope that we see over and over again is a powerful business woman who just needs the right man to soften her. None of that happens here. Sure JPS clearly had a thing for Mike back in the day (um hello, who wouldn’t?) but she doesn’t spend a second of the film pining after him. Instead she makes him cut the BS and be straight with her about what he needs and then makes him work for her support. Actually, as a whole, this movie has almost no romantic subplots which is oddly refreshing and progressive given that it’s also a movie where people wear bejeweled thongs.
Objectification: The main appeal of the whole Magic Mike franchise is that it’s a movie where MEN get objectified for once. This movie is made completely with the female gaze in mind (except for one errant shot of Amber Heard’s nipple through her shirt which we assume was the filmmaker’s way of throwing a bone to any boyfriend who got dragged to the theater).
JPS takes full advantage of this. In her first scene of the movie a large dude let’s Mike into the bedroom and there’s JPS in lingerie. In ANY other movie Mike would be there to talk to the dude kingpin who’d swat JPS on the butt and be like “beat it, sweetheart, the men are talking” but in this movie the roles are totally reversed and a woman does the butt swatting (THIS IS WHAT SUSAN B. ANTHONY FOUGHT FOR). Later in the movie she makes Channing Tatum dance sexily to earn her respect, again a kind of scene we’ve seen a lot from a male perspective. JPS takes control of these stereotypes, owns them and ends up on top.
What did you think of this cinematic gem? Tell us in the comments!
(Photos via Michel Porro/Getty, Kevin Winter/Getty + Frederick M. Brown/Getty)