Just in time for Valentine’s Day comes the third installment of the Magic Mike film franchise, Magic Mike’s Last Dance. Unlike the previous films, this one’s a musical — but with a sexy twist.
Channing Tatum, AKA “Magic” Mike Lane, hits the stage for the final time with the sexy socialite, Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault). Though the movie starts out in Florida after his business fails, Mike takes a trip over the pond to rainy London after showing Max his killer moves — which she pays for. At the first glimpse of his abs, the entire packed theater was squealing in glee. After all, it’s been eight whole years since we’ve seen Tatum tastefully strip for us.
Max’s plans to revamp her historic theater, The Rattigan, involve hiring Mike as her “visionary artist.” Though we don’t see dancing from any of our favorite fellow strippers from Magic Mike XXL — Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, Adam Rodriguez and Kevin Nash — they do make a pixelated cameo via a hilarious video chat with Mike. Mike and Max hold auditions for the next batch of sexy strippers to hit the stage, even taking to the streets and flying out long-haired Italian men to join the troupe.
Though Last Dance is loose and light-hearted enough to entertain, it’s hard to compare to the excitement and bare man-butt of the previous two movies. When we finally see all of Mike and Max’s hard work come to fruition on opening night, the entire audience (in the film and in the theater) was applauding and hooting.
It wasn’t until Tatum himself takes the rainy stage to splash and writhe with the last-minute ballet dancer, Kylie Shea, that we feel the heat we’ve been yearning for. Director Steven Soderbergh recently revealed that “there’s not even a thong” in the movie, and it was definitely missed. However, the mostly-clothed strippers ripped their shirts off often enough. Soderbergh still achieved sexiness through the choreography and camera work. As the director put it, “intimacy and genuine emotion” is what’s really sexy.
As a romance, Mike and Max’s love story didn’t feel strong enough given the short amount of time they were together in the month-long time span of the film. Tatum and Hayek had great chemistry and we wish the film captured that more. As we previously reported, Hayek said of her character, “It’s the strongest love story, the strongest female character, from beginning to end. How lucky am I?” Tears were shed, laughs were had and we were entertained from start to finish.
With that being said, we’ll let you decide how this third installment holds up in the franchise. All in all, it’s worth a watch to see how Mike Lane gracefully — and sexily — retires from the stripping business.
Watch Magic Mike’s Last Dance in Dolby Cinema on Friday, Feb. 10: