A few laughs, some harmless thrills, and an escape from reality is all you can realistically expect from some movies, and sometimes that’s more than enough. In the case of “Magic Mike XXL,” the sequel to the 2012 original, you get exactly what you’d expect plus a few twists and turns and standout performances, but not always from the principal players.
Directed by Gregory Jacobs, the film centers around a road trip to Myrtle Beach for a stripper convention, a setup that brings to mind the thin plots of many of the National Lampoon movies. Mike quickly abandons his furniture business and decides to join his Kings of Tampa buddies for the trip — in a yogurt truck, no less.
It’s the stops along the way that turn out to be the fun twists that make the movie a harmless guilty pleasure. Some of these memorial side trips include a drag club, where Mike and his boys participate in an amateur queen contest, a strip club that’s run by Jada Pinkett Smith, a beach, and a gas station convenience store.
Richie’s impromptu “performance” for a clerk at the convenience store may be getting all the buzz, but it’s some of the sideline players who add character to what would otherwise by a non-stop beef fest with very little substance. Lauren (Crystal Hunt), for instance, who plays one of the girls with Richie and Tito, turns out to be more than just window dressing in a movie driven by eye candy.
Hunt may be familiar to soap fans from her role as the troubled Lizzie Spaulding on the long-running daytime drama Guiding Light, for which she earned a Daytime Emmy. She went on to take on the equally demanding role of bad girl Stacy Morasco on One Life to Live.
Showing an early passion for acting at the age of two when performing in pageants, Hunt would go on to appear in various commercials and an anti-drug public service announcement with N’Sync. Given her ability to standout in a movie where all eyes were on the guys, it’s likely her star will continue to rise. Be sure to check out Crystal on Facebook, or get on her official website.