Magic Mike’s Final Dance (currently streaming on VOD providers like Amazon Prime Video), the third and ostensibly final film in the MMCU, sees Steven Soderbergh return to helm after leaving the second film off.
Star Channing Tatum is 42 now, which makes me feel almost dead, and his co-star this time is Salma Hayek, who never fails to finish the job of knocking me dead, and together, they emit a whole lotta hormones, hopefully with enough stoichiometric oomph to entertain (I just can’t bring myself to use the word “arouse”) all of us who are watching and aren’t nearly as goddamn attractive as they are.
The first two Mikes were decent despite their flaws, so we’ll see if the third time’s the charm, or if we’re stuck with diminishing returns.
STREAM OR SKIP MAGIC MIKE’S LAST DANCE?
The gist: The epidemic devastated Mike’s (Tatum) furniture business, and he no longer strip-dances, so he’s now a bartender, but hey, he still works out 165 times per week.
He’s mixing cocktails at a wealthy person’s fundraiser, and one of the female patrons recognizes him, but it takes a moment to place him, almost probably because he’s wearing a shirt and pants this time.
Maxandra Mendoza (Hayek), the rich person’s host, draws him aside after the party and reveals that she knows he was a master craftsman in the arts and crafts of pulling off most of his clothes and thrusting his crotch hither and thither.
She might use anything, so perhaps she can pay him for a dance? At first he’s like Clint in Unforgiven and is like, hey, I ain’t like that no more, but then she’s like ugh, it’s been the week from hell and then he’s like.
Hey, pay me $60,000 and she’s like how about $6,000 and he starts testing the shelves and furniture to see if this table is good for a gliding dry hump and if that bar will hold his weight when he does a pull-up and she does a pull-down of his pants. And all of this occurs.
The next morning, we show them hugging in bed, because this is a film about simulation, not genuine sex. So, do they exist or not? Dunno.
It’s one of those “yeah-sure-maybe-not?” types of things. It becomes even more problematic when Max offers to pay Mike $60k to come live with her in London for a month.
He wonders why, and she says it’s a surprise, and when they arrive, she shows him the lovely theater that belongs to her ex, whom she’s now divorcing.
The play now being produced at that theater is a stuffy historical piece with stiff people in all the wrong ways, and she wants Mike to direct and choreograph a version of the play that makes people stiff in all the right ways. He hesitantly agrees.
So they go out and get the best dancing guys in London, and Mike teaches them how to perform their thing in a sexier way. There’s a lot about making sure the performance and the theater pass whatever meticulous nitpickery the British government imposes on such things, as well as the incorporation of the stuffy period piece actress (Juliette Motamed) into the show, and Mike’s speeches about making a lap dance hot as shit while also being about consent and stuff.
Meanwhile, Mike and Max’s romance is in shambles – they aren’t sleeping together, and that backseat makeout session was a touch strange.
Are they doing this show to enrage the snobs and bureaucrats, as well as her ex-husband, or are they staging it for themselves? SPOILERS ARE NOT ALLOWED.
We already know Tatum has mastered the grindy/buttwiggle/hubbahubba stuff, so we’re not surprised he’s still good at it, and Hayek is nice, but she doesn’t deviate from the expected either.
Therefore it’s worth mentioning that Motamed appears like a sparkplug in a few situations, and you wish she had more.
Notable Dialogue: “You boys gotta be ready to get your hands dirty, your noses wet, and those nuts chafed as shit,” Mike says on your next sitting-room throw pillow.
Sex and Skin: Plenty of underwear and thrusting of underwear areas, abs abs abs everywhere, a woman in skimpy skivvies, but no “nudity”!
The opening Tatum/Hayek sexydance sequence warms the nethers wonderfully, the big-show conclusion has its share of sizzling moments, and Soderbergh demonstrates his unrivaled talent for constructing witty, energetic montages.
(One scene in which Mike’s dancing troupe attempts to “heist” a stodgy bureaucrat’s blessing is so smooth that you can’t help but be delighted by it.) Soderbergh is one of Hollywood’s most deft and stylish directors, always dedicated to purely visual narrative while keeping a broad, approachable appeal.
He’s so talented that he makes the discovery of an old Dandy Warhols song seem spirited, even inspired. That Soderbergh is a magician.
But, Reid Carolin’s screenplay provides little fodder for the filmmaker. It meanders from one scene to the next structurally, with a long, dead hour between the premise’s establishment and implementation.
It’s all jumbled together by voiceover narration from Max’s adolescent daughter (Jemelia George), who waxes eloquent about the vitality of dancing as an art form – the kind of lite-intellectual pronouncements that we won’t argue with, but won’t inspire or provoke us either.
Give it props for its audio-visual prowess, but Magic Mike’s Last Dance isn’t much to get excited about, both emotionally and dramatically.