Mike takes to the stage again, following a business deal that went bust, leaving him broke and taking bartender gigs in Florida. Mike heads to London with a wealthy socialite who lures him with an offer he can’t refuse.

Chuck says:

It’s been written that theme of Steven Soderbergh’s “The Girlfriend Experience” and “Magic Mike,” is commerce, that the main characters present themselves as products to be purchased and “consumed,” their sense of well-being damaged and self-image compromised in the pursuit of financial gain. I suppose there’s something to this.  Soderbergh is one of our brightest filmmakers and he certainly needs something more than exploitive subject matter to capture his interest. However, I doubt the target audience for the director’s latest, “Magic Mike’s Last Dance,” is thinking about personal micro-economics or the mental health of it protagonists while watching. No, I would think the common viewer is there to see Channing Tatum and his brethren bump, grind, and flip their way through one elaborate, sexually charged dance routine after another. To be sure, Soderbergh and his incredibly flexible cast deliver on that count, but there’s something more at play as well.

Our stalwart hero has been hit by hard times.  Having lost his furniture business, he gets by picking up bartending gigs at catered affairs. At one such event, he meets Maxandra Mendoza (Salma Hayek Pinault), the discontented wife of an English millionaire who, separated from her husband, has lost all sense of purpose. Hiring Mike to do his thing, he provides the spark that rejuvenates her, giving her a reason to go on and hatch an elaborate revenge scheme aimed at her spouse.  (Note: Mike’s dance IS inspirational, but I’m not sure I buy that it’s so good that it instills the will to live. Credit Hayek Pinault for convincing us this is so.)

Before you know it, the pair are jetting off to London, the home of the Ratigan Theater that Max has control of due to some legal shenanigans there’s no need to dwell on.  Housing a stodgy Victorian play called “Isabel Ascendant,” our vengeful heroine shuts the production down with the intention of replacing it with something radically different. Knowing it would shame her husband, whose family has taken great pride in owning the theater for decades, she plans on staging an-all male dance revue featuring scantily clad performers gyrating in sexually provocative scenarios.  What Mike doesn’t realize is that Max has tapped him to direct the show, a task he’s ill-prepared to tackle.

As Mike and Max traipse about London seeking dancers and putting them through their paces, I couldn’t help thinking that this is NOT the way Mickey Rooney and Judy Garland would gather together their pals and put on a show. The story is threadbare and Soderbergh wisely devotes a great deal of time to the performers he’s assembled. The sexual nature of the routines is so exaggerated you can’t help but laugh at them.  The dancers are in on the joke and while I can’t say for sure, as I was a bit distracted, I’m pretty sure their tongues are firmly planted in their cheeks. Even if you are not a musical aficionado, you can’t help but marvel at what these men do. It’s obvious Soderbergh appreciates their efforts, giving each performer a chance in the spotlight to allow them to twist, grind and jump, with one dancer doing something I thought was impossible. They are genuinely impressive.  Color me green…

The chemistry between Tatum and Hayek Pinault is unexpectedly convincing and goes a long way towards keeping us engaged. Tatum is quite good, effectively underselling comedic moments as his fish-out-of-water character finds himself in one awkward moment after another, rubbing elbows with England’s one percent. His Mike is so low-key, there are times when he’s almost not there, but once he hits the stage, the actor reveals his character’s true nature with a sense of formidable swagger.  This transition and Tatum’s ability to sell it is often overlooked amidst all the razzle dazzle.  Equally engaging are Ayub Khan-Din as Victor, a gruff butler with a soft heart, and Jemelia George as Zadie, Max’s wise-beyond-her-years adopted daughter, both contributing wry humor at key points.

As for what the future holds for Mike and Max?  Your guess is as good as mind as they are presented with an arduous future at film’s end.  But if it’s one thing the movies have taught me, it’s that love conquers all…and that if you have the right moves, your powers of spiritual resurrection are always at hand.

3 Stars

Recent Posts
Contact Us

Chuck and Pam would love to hear from you! Send us an email and we'll get back to you, asap.

Not readable? Change text. captcha txt

Start typing and press Enter to search

Stay up to date with Chuck and Pam!
Join our monthly newsletter for behind the scenes looks, special interviews, and bonus content!
We respect your privacy.