FILM REVIEW — Mike has lost some of his magic

Published 12:02 am Friday, February 10, 2023

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“Magic Mike’s Last Dance”

Warner Brothers Pictures

Directed by Steven Soderbergh

Starring Channing Tatum, Salma Hayek, Caitlin Gerard, Alan Cox and Ayub Khan

Rated R

2 Stars

It’s time to welcome “Magic Mike” back to the stage in the third and final installment in the film series, “Magic Mike’s Last Dance.”

I know several people who are champing at the bit to see another beefcake on parade movie, but truth be told, Mike has lost some of his magic this time around.

Channing Tatum stars once again, and he’s always a winning draw. This time our title character is whisked across the pond to help a West End producer (Salma Hayek) launch a new show.

Sparks fly between the two, which makes this last film into more of a romance than its predecessors.

The secret to the “Magic Mike” movies has always been that the central character was self-aware enough to realize he was a fantasy of sorts, and that fleshing out his character too much would ruin the illusion.

Perhaps that’s why the romance in the previous films always seemed like an afterthought. The love story takes center stage this time around, and while that’s OK, it dilutes the film’s other charms.

That would be the dancing, which is the reason to see this film. Tatum rightfully gets credit for his ability to move, and he once again surrounds himself with a talented ensemble of dancers. In a bit of a surprise, the supporting cast is mostly faceless — never fleshed out to the point where they resonate within the story.

It made me miss the supporting characters from the first films, a complaint that is exacerbated when those original characters appear for a brief Zoom call.

I did still enjoy the bump-and-grind dance numbers, including the water-logged finale that left me grinning at its sheer audacity.

These have always been the best moments in the franchise, and while I think they aren’t as fresh as they were in the previous films, the dance routines are still thrilling, for the choreography and the sculpted bodies on display.

Which makes it strange that I was so lukewarm on “Magic Mike’s Last Dance.” The music and dancing are still appealing. Tatum is always fun to watch. Hayek is also very good, and the romance does have some heat, although mostly at the beginning.

Despite these merits, the story seems to be out of character with the rest of the franchise, and the lack of a genuine supporting cast means that Mike must carry the movie himself.

Even Tatum’s beefy shoulders struggle under the weight.

“Magic Mike’s Last Dance” proves to be enjoyable, but not nearly as much fun as we might have hoped for the final film in the series.

Movie reviews by Sean McBride, “The Movie Guy,” are published each week by Orange Newsmedia and seen weekly on KFDM and Fox4. Sean welcomes your comments via email at