Life & Culture

Film review: Magic Mike’s Last Dance 'Stunted, outdated and just plain silly.'

Linda Marric's not impressed by the latest episode in this stripper saga


Cert: 15

Stars 2/5

In 2012, Steven Soderbergh’s Magic Mike, a comedy drama about a group of male strippers did for the female gaze what no other film had done before it. Returning in 2015 with Magic Mike XXL and minus its original director, the franchise seemed to be going from strength to strength. Now back for a third serving and with Soderbergh at the helm once more, Magic Mike’s Last Dance marks a new, if not exactly hugely original departure for the franchise.

Having retired from the stripping game and following a business venture that went bust due to Covid, Mike Lane (Channing Tatum reprising his most iconic role) has found himself bartending in Florida. At a swanky fundraiser hosted by soon to be divorced socialite Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek), Mike is persuaded by Maxandra to come out of retirement for one last more lap dance, and maybe more.

Whisked off to London to help start a new venture with the socialite, Mike has to navigate the culture shock and his new relationship with a woman whom he is told by her own daughter, has never been able to see a project to its full completion.

There’s no denying it, this is a far cry from Soderbergh’s much loved original film. With a preposterously pedestrian storyline and a laughably implausible premise, Magic Mike’s Last Dance feels stunted, outdated and just plain silly. 

Furthermore, instead of being in any way empowering or even a little bit uplifting, this latest chapter feels both empty and more than a little redundant in this post #Metoo era. Which begs the question, have we as a society moved on from considering such obvious titillation as a female liberation tool, or has the franchise itself stagnated over the last decade. One is tempted to say both, as instead of taking this whole idea and making something new with it, Soderbergh and writer Reid Carolin have cobbled a nonsensical premise which makes about as much sense as a storyline in a telenovela.

All in all, this was a huge disappointment and is only just about elevated by Tatum who is evidently incapable of delivering a single bad performance. And while the rest of the storyline feels tired and beyond predictable, the film's one saving grace is a truly hilarious turn courtesy British actor Ayub Khan-Din who provides the much needed comic relief as Max's long suffering Butler Victor. 

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