Starring: Channing Tatum, Matt Bomer, Joe Manganiello, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Jada Pinkett Smith, Amber Heard
Director: Gregory Jacobs
The skinny: Mike (Tatum) said goodbye to the world of male strippers and now runs a bespoke furniture business. But he misses his mates (aka the Kings of Tampa), so when an opportunity arises for him to reunite with his band of stripper brothers, he wastes no time in embracing the circuit once again.
This is the best movie I've seen this year.
It's not the near-naked dudes; I'm straight as an arrow.
It's the fact that this is the first flick of 2015 that feels completely, 100 per cent alive.
Keying off of Tatum's expansive personality, XXL is generous in spirit and warm of heart. The interactions between the guys are at times deeply moving.
When Mike encourages Big Dick Richie (Manganiello) to up his stripper game or when he has a heart-to-heart with Ken (Bomer) about their future plans, I buy it completely.
Each has a distinct, fully-realised personality, and XXL celebrates them as individuals and teammates.
And they are just as good with the ladies.
The women who come to see them are ordinary but the fellas treat them like princesses - even when they are not working.
They call themselves healers and they're exactly that.
XXL is basically Marvin Gaye's Sexual Healing in handy movie form.
Our heroes also meet up with loads of interesting characters on their road trip. Their long, rambling, drunken conversations are a joy.
Their climactic performance at the stripper convention is breathtaking.
Tatum and his merry men use their platform as "male entertainers" to spread an inclusive philosophy of bonhomie and sex positivity.
XXL isn't just about tawdry titillation. It gives sex its due as a deep and powerful life force.
There are no hidden messages, no lessons to be learnt.
It is what it is: A film about a group of male entertainers who enjoy being worshipped by throngs of sex-crazed women.
And that's what makes this sequel to the 2012 surprise smash Magic Mike that much more enjoyable.
It's a funny and raunchy fantasy where men are desperate for cash and women are the ones with dough.
It's also mainly a buddy road-trip movie where we see the Kings of Tampa try to get their mojo back.
Matthew McConaughey, the anchor of the first movie, is absent after his Dallas character is said to have abandoned the guys for the glitzier world of Macau.
So it's Tatum to take over the show and he's still as amazing a dancer as ever.
Of course, it helps that he also has bulges in all the right areas to help amp the guys' stripping repertoire to a whole new XXL level.
The female castmembers don't add to or subtract from the plot, but who cares, right?
This sequel exists purely for the fairer sex to ogle, cheer on and laugh at the slick and oft-times hilarious buffet spread of beefcake.
And there is still something quite heartwarming beneath all the glistening muscles and bump-and-grind action.
The guys know their days of gyrating in teeny-weeny, shiny G-strings are numbered, so it's nice to see them sharing their insecurities openly with each other.
It's a sexy movie but also a sweet celebration of brotherhood.
The Consensus: Both guys and girls will derive much pleasure from such well-oiled entertainment.
Check out other movies in cinemas here.
This article was first published on July 15, 2015.
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