The Reel Review
The titular, titillating stripper taps into his exotic dancing roots after a wealthy socialite, blown away by a passionate night together in Miami, hires him to stage an erotic male dance review at her theatre in London’s West End. Channing Tatum and Salma Hayek star in this third (and hopefully final) installment in the Magic Mike franchise.
After his truly charming first 2012 film based on Tatum’s own experiences as an 18-year-old stripper in Tampa, Florida, and a disastrous sequel from director and frequent Steven Soderbergh collaborator Gregory Jacobs, Soderbergh himself returns to re-direct Tatum’s inner Julia Roberts/Pretty Woman, fish-out-of-water tale about the working-class stripper dropped into the world of the super-rich. The pointless story, however, is laughably silly, as the pair give a dance-filled, erotic Hamilton/So You Think You Can Dance? makeover to a dishwater dull period play. The film has all the clichés – a contrived romance, the threat of the play being shut down, and Jemelia George, as the daughter of Hayek’s character, with some pretentious narration about the history of dance. Um, okay…
So the only real reason to watch Magic Mike’s Last Dance is for some hot and steamy dancing – but guess what? Even that’s in short supply. Tatum and Hayek have zero chemistry. And other than a bit of clever choreography in the finalé, the montage-heavy film is shockingly dull and lacking in sex appeal. The magic is gone. Mike, please – let this be the last dance.
• Thandiwe Newton left Magic Mike’s Last Dance as the female lead 11 days after filming started, following reports of an exceptionally heated argument with Channing Tatum over Will Smith’s 2022 Oscar slap of host Chris Rock. There’s no word on what side of the controversy each of them took.
• Originally HBO planned the film to be a straight to streaming release but decided to premiere it in theaters after positive feedback from test audiences.
• Magic Mike’s Last Dance is director Steven Soderbergh’s first film since 2018’s Unsane.