"Magic Mike's Last Dance" Review: It's Probably Not The Movie You're Expecting To See

    Gone are the days of blush-inducing moves on the Xquisite Strip Club stage, and in its place are highly choreographed performances you'd be more likely to see on the So You Think You Can Dance stage.

    It's been almost eight years since the last Magic Mike film (Magic Mike XXL), and just in time for Valentine's Day, the third installment, Magic Mike's Last Dance, has finally moved and grooved its way into theaters.

    Salma Hayek as Max and Channing Tatum as Mike dancing

    Channing Tatum reprises his role as Mike Lane, and Steven Soderbergh returns to the helm with a script from Reid Carolin, who also wrote the first two films. And newcomer to the franchise Salma Hayek Pinault costars as Mike's new love interest, Maxandra Mendoza.

    Mike and Max getting into an expensive car

    BTW, before we get going here, if you want to know absolutely nothing about the film going into it, skip to the end for the TL;DR. I won't reveal any major spoilers, but obviously, I gotta talk about the film somehow!

    So, here's the setup...

    Set in post-COVID present day, we find Mike (Channing Tatum) back in Miami at loose ends and with empty pockets, having closed his furniture business.

    Mike looking at Miami across the bay

    Mike now works as a bartender at fancy events, where he sometimes has semi-awkward run-ins with past clients from his stripping days.

    Mike working as a bartender

    However, at one fortuitous event, Mike meets the lovely, mysterious, and extremely rich Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek).

    Max sitting at the bar looking at Mike

    After a night of, er, "getting to know each other" — i.e. Mike providing Max with the private lap dance of her life — she presents Mike with a fairytale-like opportunity he can’t refuse: to come to London to be the director at a theater she owns.

    Mike pulling up his shirt and putting Max's hand on his stomach

    The thing is, Max's theater isn't exactly fit for a sexy new passion-inducing show, let alone a strip show. The Rattigan, as the theater is known, currently hosts Isabel Ascendant (a fictional Regency-era play).

    Outside the Rattigan theater, which has a large sign

    But that's exactly why Max has brought Mike to London — she wants to change things up. In the midst of a divorce, Max is looking for a purpose. Her hope is to bring the Rattigan into a feminist-forward 21st century, and she believes Mike is the one to help her do that.

    Mike sitting on a stage listening to Max

    And, of course, as it turns out, she's not just looking for a positive way to spend her small fortune, she's also looking for love.

    Mike and Max in bed

    What unfolds for the remaining two hours of the film is a low-key comedic jaunt for Mike through London's theater scene. (And I bet you didn't have that phrase on your bingo card for 2023!)

    Mike overseeing auditions and rehearsals for his new show

    Now, you're probably thinking, OK, but tell me about the stripping?! And I'm sorry to say that despite Magic Mike being, at its core, a franchise about male strippers, this new film has very little stripping. You basically get a few torn-off shirts here and there.

    Guys dancing with their shirts off

    In place of all the fun, scream-inducing stripping the previous two films delivered is A LOT more dancing. Just dancing. (Albeit, very good and impressive dancing.) Yes, there's still some gyrating and grinding from Mike and his new recruits, but it's all fairly PG-13.

    Max and a woman dancing in simulated rain

    Gone are the days of gritty blush-inducing stripper moves, drugs, and partying as seen at Xquisite Strip Club, and in its place are highly choreographed performances, West End theater hijinks, and storylines you'd be more likely to see on So You Think You Can Dance. Oh, how far Mike has come.

    Guys dancing on a stage

    TL;DR

    Magic Mike's Last Dance is a very tamed-down version of what the franchise once was, and it's probably not the film fans are expecting to see. However, even with its meandering, low-stakes plot, if you're someone who prefers easy romance over unapologetic stripping, you'll probably enjoy how simply things play out.

    Max holding Mike's face

    Magic Mike's Last Dance opens today, Feb. 10, 2023, and you can watch the official trailer for it here:

    View this video on YouTube

    Warner Bros. / Via youtube.com

    Looking for more recommendations? Check out my other reviews from this year:

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