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REVIEW: ‘Magic Mike’s Last Dance'—a forgettable movie erotic performances can’t save

By Jerald Uy Published Feb 20, 2023 6:43 pm

Sex, dance, and theater? The muses might have been so busy on the set of Magic Mike’s Last Dance, the last movie seeing stripper Mike Lane (Bullet Train’s Channing Tatum) tapped to reinvigorate a struggling British revue. Apart from that, it got its share of drama, too, behind the scenes as original lead actress Thandiwe Newton (Westworld) exited after 11 days of filming and was replaced by Selma Hayek (Eternals). Hence, explaining why an actress of Mexican descent is suddenly playing an adoptive mother to a black teenager.

This is fiction and of course, it does affect a viewer’s suspension of disbelief. Young aspiring novelist Zadie (Jemelia George) provides the narration in the movie as an omniscient witness to Mike and her mother Max (Hayek)’s relationship. That’s another weak point in the narrative because Zadie can’t even watch a whole performance with their trusted butler covering her eyes and telling her to exit while the show is ongoing.

Hayek shows she has the comedic chops to match Tatum’s charm for merely existing. It is also a revelation that she only experienced steamy male lap dances during filming. (Watch out for the funny audition sequence where a variety of dancers attempt to sizzle the dance floor with her.)

The movie’s strengths lie in the performances—ranging from a well-choreographed Swan Lake-themed dance on board a bus, a lap dance with senior citizens, to a mesmerizing number between ballerina Kylie Shea and Tatum. These are sure distractions so you can enjoy a movie that feels like an adult version of High School Musical 2 mashed with Tatum’s earlier dance-centric movie Step Up.

Director Steven Soderbergh of Ocean’s fame returned to the Magic Mike franchise, only to helm a movie that is subpar to most of his works. Magic Mike’s Last Dance is also the weakest in the trilogy, whose ridiculous plot suffers in comparison to the well-written Magic Mike (2012) and comedy road trip Magic Mike XXL (2015).

As the final installment, the third movie lost the chance to bring back the original strippers together and only gave them cameos online. Despite being around the best dancers across the UK, Mike seemed to lose his magic by going solo. 

Marketed locally as a Valentine’s Day movie, Magic Mike’s Last Dance feels like legitimate soft porn to get your movie date in the mood to book a motel room. Too bad, erotic performances are not enough to save its underwhelming story.

Magic Mike’s Last Dance is now showing in the Philippines. The movie is rated R-13.

Watch the trailer below.