With Valentine’s Day a mere stone’s throw away, and the world still on a bit of a downer right now (and that’s putting it mildly), it’s not surprising that a familiar face is returning to cinema screens this weekend to thrust some love into our hearts. That familiar face is of course Channing Tatum, who reprises the role of muscle-bound hunk, Mike Lane, for the romantic comedy-drama, Magic Mike’s Last Dance.
The film – directed by Steven Soderbergh – is the latest entry in the Magic Mike series, and as the title suggests, it is supposedly the final instalment too. As such, if you want to get another fix of Mike, and his rippling abs, you’ll need to head to your local cinema now.
Is it worth bothering? Well, I’ll get to that shortly; but as for now, Tatum is back and for this latest movie he’s joined by a cast that includes Salma Hayek, Jemelia George and Vicki Pepperdine.
As for the story, the film picks up a few years after the events of Magic Mike XXL (2015). In this instalment, Mike leaves his home in the US, to travel to London, to take part in a new venture.
In the movie, Mike is down on his luck and financially strapped for cash. Following the loss of his business, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, he’s flat broke and is forced to take bartender jobs to make ends meet.
One afternoon, while working the bar at a fundraising event, Mike crosses paths with the event’s host, Maxandra ‘Max’ Mendoza. Max is very wealthy, but is at a crossroads in life, and is looking for a new direction.
After learning that Mike used to be a stripper, Max offers to pay him for a private dance. Although Mike is retired from the stripping business, he agrees to her request, and performs a sexually charged routine.
The dance leads to Mike and Max spending the night together, and in the morning, she presents him with another offer: Travel to London for a month, and she will pay him $60,000 for his time. The offer is a no-strings attached deal, and she makes it clear they will not be sleeping together again, despite the fact Mike is already beginning to fall for her.
After agreeing to the offer, Mike goes to London, where he is instantly put to work. Max owns a well-known theatre in the city, which is currently housing a successful, but snooty play, and she wants Mike to spice it up, by introducing his strip routines into the show.
Mike has a month to bring it all together, and ensure Max’s play-cum-strip show is a success. But with Mike being attracted to Max, we he be able to put his feelings for her to one side and concentrate on his work?
Now, if you think the above plot summary sounds a bit odd, then don’t worry, you’re not alone. Magic Mike’s Last Dance is a very odd movie, and the plot about Mike transforming an ALREADY SUCCESSFUL play, into a sort-of strip show, is certainly one aspect of it that is a bit strange.
However, it isn’t the only aspect of the movie that doesn’t sit quite right. From the performances and the setting, to the dance choreography and the tone of the film, there is simply nothing right about Magic Mike’s Last Dance.
Actually, scratch that, Channing Tatum is fine. As for everything else, it is all very, very, bad.
The acting in Magic Mike’s Last Dance is laughable; the story makes absolutely no sense; the dance sequences are all half-arsed; and parts of the film feature some bizarre, pretentious narration which feels entirely out of place. To make matters worse, various attempts at comedy and romance fall flat; and the majority of the movie plays like an advert for the Magic Mike Live Tour, rather than a film.
At no point is it remotely enjoyable, and for a film about stripping, it’s not even the slightest bit titillating or raunchy. A quick scroll through Instagram is more likely to get the pulse pounding than two hours spent with this mess, which is not great when you’ve spent almost $50 million dollars on the production.
I honestly don’t understand what the thinking is behind this movie. The whole thing feels very much like a series of ideas that have been hastily cobbled together and held in place with gaffer tape, and I would expect far more from a director like Steven Soderbergh.
In light of the ‘Me Too’ era, there are attempts to bring the concept of stripping up to date, and there are a couple of mentions about the importance of asking permission before dancing/touching etc. However, this is all feels like a lazy attempt to flag up a hot topic, with no weight or depth to back it up, so it’s barely worth mentioning.
And this is ultimately what is wrong with this movie: There is simply no weight or depth to anything on screen. This might be fine if the film was at least playful or fun, but it can’t even manage to pull this off.
This film is slow, dull, and very boring. It is a dumpster fire of a picture, which is simply dreadful, and Tatum aside, it has no redeeming qualities.
The movie’s title suggests this is the final hurrah for Mike, and based on how little dancing Mike actually does in the film, I expect it is. Tatum already appears to have one foot out of the door anyway, and if he’s got any sense, he’ll distance himself from this rubbish as quickly as possible.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance is embarrassing, underwhelming, and cringeworthy, and is about as erotic as a Womble. While this film might have Mike in it (just about), it certainly isn’t magic.
Thank you for taking the time to read this review on It’s A Stampede!. For more reviews, check out the recommended reads below.
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