Magic Mike’s Last Dance (2023)

Magic Mike’s Last Dance
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Writer: Reid Carolin
Sequel to: Magic Mike, Magic Mike XXL
Cast: Channing Tatum, Salma Hayek, Jemelia George, Ayub Khan-Din, Juliette Motamed, Vicki Pepperdine, Alan Cox, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez, Kevin Nash, Joe Manganiello
Seen on: 9.2.2023

Mike’s (Channing Tatum) attempts to make it as a business owner went under with the COVID pandemic. Now he’s bartending at the private party of the incredibly rich and freshly separated Maxandra Rattigan (Salma Hayek). When he is recognized by one of the guests from his stripping days, word gets to Max – and she asks him for a dance after the party. Reluctantly, Mike says yes and things get very steamy indeed. After he spends the night, Max offers him a job, a new challenge – in London. Mike can hardly believe what is happening, in fact, he doesn’t actually know what she is offering, but he decides to chance it anyway.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance is (probably) actually the last Magic Mike film and I think that’s quite okay. Not that there’s not quite a bit of charm to be had here, but it feels like the series has run its course a little.

The film poster showing Maxandra (Salma Hayek) leaning back against a shirtless Mike (Channing Tatum) who is holding her.

I am not a big fan of the Magic Mike movies. I wanted to like them much more than I did, though the second is definitely better than the third. But – apart from some very choice moments – they never gave me what I hoped for in the series. And neither, really, does Magic Mike’s Last Dance, though it might be the best film overall in the series, though it never quite reaches the highlights of the second.

The film tries to do something different from the other two films, and it definitely succeeds there, though not always necessarily for the better. I did like the structure they found in Max’ job offer to Mike. Not only does it give us a frame to hold on to, it is also tailored to exploring the relationship between Max and Mike – and that is the major focus here, including some excellent class analysis. That Max is obviously older than Mike is, interestingly, never mentioned, which I found quite refreshing. But I did not like that the guys – apart from Mike – only come in for a little cameo. That was a bit disappointing (though it was not that big a deal, to be fair).

Mike (Channing Tatum) holding Maxandra's (Salma Hayek) against his belly.

Tatum and Hayek have sizzling chemistry, that is for sure. Unfortunately the film thinks that that is nothing to go from “I have never done this before, I don’t know if i can even do this” to extensive grinding of crotch in face in just a few moments, a misjudgement of eroticism that I absolutely would not have expected from this film. Add to that that the dancing takes a backseat in general and the new dancers introduced are, with one exception, so featureless that they are barely more than props, and I really would have liked to see more, but slower dancing action. (Also, please show me more of Juliette Motamed, preferably being ground on by guys, and make my bi little heart very happy.) (Apart from my horniness: what a presence!)

The film has moments and Tatum has probably never been as good as Mike as he is here. But some of the issues I had with the previous films persist, like the messy storytelling (not helped by this film choosing to have a voice over) or the supposedly feminist message that never hits its mark. I really do hope that the series can be laid to rest now. I may very well enjoy a “best of” supercut in the future, but I don’t need any more than that.

MIke (Channing Tatum) smiling.

Summarizing: well. It is what it is. Channing Tatum is a great dancer.

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