Unfortunately, the problems start with the titular Mike. When we catch up with Mike Lane, he’s now in his 40s, and the furniture business he’s spent years trying to build has gone under during COVID, so he’s now bartending for rich ladies.
During a fundraising party, he meets Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), a rich soon-to-be divorcee to whom Mike gives such a magical lap dance, it completely changes Maxandra’s world, inspiring her to bring him to London. While there, she drops a surprise on his lap for once: the chance to do a one-night-only, one-of-its-kind (unless you remember Chippendales has been a thing for decades) striptease performance at a prestigious London theater the family of Maxandra’s husband used to own.
As the previous film made clear, Mike works best in an ensemble, as a magical himbo that fixes everyone’s problems one dance at a time while helping out his bros express and fulfill their dreams. Here, there is no ensemble, but Mike is still not really a character. We don’t get a real sense of what he’s thinking or how he feels about anything other than Maxandra. And as for the romance so monumental it replaced The Kings of Tampa? An absolute dud.
While Tatum and Hayek Pinault have undeniable chemistry, their scenes feel very underwritten to the point where they seem like bad improv. Maxandra is the only character with some actual motivation, but they are as thin as the paper in the single dollar bills thrown at the dancers, seemingly starting and stopping at just revenge.