Magic Mike is back for one last dance in the male stripper franchise’s third and final installment.
Let me start this with I adore Channing Tatum. He’s hot, he dances so passionately and he’s all in all a great actor. This movie though was a letdown to me. He only dances twice and the plot is stale. Besides his complete chemistry with Salma Hayek, the only good part was his first dance. It was incredibly sexy and passionate and made me blush. Besides for that my mother and I mostly laughed at the movie which only had 4 seats taken. I loved they brought back the whole cast from previous movies but it was only over a Zoom call and there was no dancing and too much talking. If you’re going to make this ‘The Last Dance’, you can hopefully understand I’d like to see the main cast actually dancing.
Although the new dancers were excellent, It didn’t feel like a Magic Mike movie and especially didn’t feel adequate for the final movie of the franchise. It was a great cast of famous people like Salma Hayek and Matthew McConaughey but that’s really it for big names. The female empowerment throughout the movie was a nice touch but it did feel kind of pandering and never fully grasped what women actually want. Male dancers frequently held one-dimensional views about what women wanted, which reverted to sexist ideas about women’s desire as “naturally” sexually passive and something that needs to be elicited. There is certainly less nudity than in the previous films and at times, it suggests that men know what is best for women better than they do themselves.
We see Mike teaching new dancers how to obtain “permission” for a dance by taking a woman’s hand and looking deeply into her eyes. When giving Max a striptease, Mike asks her to give him a signal if he takes her out of her comfort zone – to which she replies: “I’ll fucking slap you.” For a film that claims to center women’s experiences of the strip show, we see little about how women’s interactions with male dancers – and with each other – might play out. Despite claiming to know what women want, Magic Mike’s Last Dance leaves little space to explore women’s own desires. Last Dance goes narrowly and cynically into post-indie, corporate Hollywood clichés. Soderbergh’s desperation shows a filmmaker who recycles a formula and, like a tired stripper lacking conviction, repeats the old motions.
The idea that male strippers are somehow progressive or transgressive is so out of touch that it exposes Soderbergh’s commercial miscalculation. His cultural updates, such as making Maxandra a dissatisfied feminist warrior with an adopted biracial daughter, come off as desperate pandering to a market that doesn’t exist. (Jemelia George plays the student intellectual whom Maxandra named after black and liberal-identified authoress Zadie Smith; she provides the film’s anthropological narration.) All in all, I’d give Last Dance a four out of ten, definitely to be only viewed as a rental or free if possible.