Movie Review: Magic Mike’s Last Dance

The dirty-dancing franchise returns with a perfunctory yet well-made concluding chapter.


The titular dancer “Magic” Mike Lane, he of flexible dreams and even more flexible abdominal muscles, has always had one foot off the stage and into the future.

In the surprisingly poignant film that introduced audiences to this bard of baby oil, Magic Mike was the wise veteran star in Miami’s exotic-dance scene, trying to teach a young colleague to navigate the excesses of the lifestyle. In the confectionary sequel “Magic Mike XXL,” the gang got back together for what was to be their final performance.

With audiences eager to return and shirts eager to be shed, though, comes another chapter, dubbed “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” (we’ve heard that before but never mind). This time, Mike is toiling as a bartender after the failure of his bespoke furniture business; when wealthy divorcee Maxandra (Salma Hayek Pinault) hears about Mike’s seductive past, a romance and a business relationship are born.

The romance is of the will-they-won’t-they variety; inasmuch as “Last Dance” has conflict, it’s over whether or not the flexible hero will settle down. The business relationship concerns a stuffy old theater in London, controlled by Maxandra and currently hosting a staid drama; she wants to freshen up the tale by turning it into an all-male revue and thinks Mike is just the guy to give it some spice.

Steven Soderbergh, who helmed the slice-of-life original film but skipped the road-comedy sequel, returns to the director’s chair for “Last Dance,” although it’s unclear why. He flexes his muscles when the hunks flex theirs, shooting the dance sequences like high art. A climactic performance featuring Tatum and ballet dancer Kylie Shea is a sublime bit of dirty dancing, performed under a manufactured rainstorm and photographed with drama and grace.

Outside of those sequences, though, the tale sort of ambles along. Maxandra’s ex is determined to stop the striptease from occurring, providing roadblocks that never amount to much. She also has a precocious teen daughter (Jemelia George) who is presented as the film’s narrator and conscience but isn’t given enough screen time to develop into an actual character. Mike is a fish out of water in London society but never errs badly.

All involved from the artists to the audiences are just here for the show, and it delivers well enough that “Magic Mike’s Last Dance” can’t be called a failure. If you’re coming for a bit of tasteful bump and grind, you’ll get it; the fact that you won’t get much more than that is sort of beside the point.

My Rating: 6/10

“Magic Mike’s Last Dance” is now playing in theaters.

Categories: Sean Collier’s Popcorn for Dinner