Male strippers – those baby-oiled studs the colour of over-brewed tea with buttocks waxed smooth like two Granny Smiths in clingfilm – are so lame that no ’80s revival can give them a comeback. The miracle of Steven Soderbergh’s 2012 film ‘Magic Mike’ was how un-naff it was. Based on star Channing Tatum’s own experiences as a teenage stripper, it even had one bronzed pec in the real world.
For the sequel, Tatum is once again the main attraction. He’s back with his Oscar-worthy dry hump (his acting’s not bad either) for this less improvised, borderline cheesy but still very fun sequel. Set three years later, Tatum’s Mike is now working as a furniture-maker who can’t resist the call of the wild to go back for one last blow-out performance at a stripper convention.
What follows is a road movie as Mike and his stripping troupe head to Florida, bickering over who lost the fake tan. There’s a terrific scene where they storm the dancefloor at a gay club (the joke being that the leg-shaving beauty rituals of the stripper and drag queen are basically identical).
Missing – and missed – are Matthew McConaughey as snake-hipped strip club owner Dallas and director Soderbergh, who gave the original its lived-in feel. (Soderbergh is officially retired from directing; he’s credited here as cinematographer and editor). So while the first film had a pet pig eating sick off the floor after an epic party, ‘XXL’ has a bumper selection of crotch-in-face grind. Honestly, this is the closest Channing Tatum will ever get to making a porn film.