Magic Mike is back – but in name only. Throughout the groan-worthy two hours of Magic Mike’s Last Dance, Channing Tatum’s legendary scantily clad dancer (Mike Lane) insists he is “done” with dancing. So when the bafflingly rich Miami socialite Max (Salma Hayek Pinault) comes knocking with an offer to do more dancing, Mike… puts on his dancing shoes once again and travels to London. The premise feels a little Pretty Woman, but by the end of the picture, I was hoping it would turn into Barbarian.
Tatum slips back into his role as Mike Lane with ease and grace. Not only is he funny (when the script really isn’t) but he’s charming and fun to watch. He works well with a team of dancers he hires to make an old, decrepit London theatre relevant again. It’s a shame he only has a handful of dance scenes in the entire film, as most of the long-time Magic Mike fans will surely be buying cinema tickets for him.
While Tatum is brilliant as Mike, he’s unfortunately partnered up with Max (Hayek Pinault) and her ensemble of cliches. There’s the rich ex-husband who disapproves; the judgemental tech-genius daughter; and the eccentrically posh butler ripped straight from The Princess Diaries.
These boring slapstick characters could be forgiven if Hayek Pinault had any semblance of chemistry with Tatum – but she doesn’t. Their relationship is painfully unbelievable and downright frustrating at points.
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I think the film’s editors knew this, as well. Not only do Mike and Max never discuss anything real throughout their scenes, but viewers are plagued with a deranged and overbearing voiceover throughout the picture from her daughter, Zadie (Jemelia George). The quick-witted teenager’s voice pontificates about the “meaning” of dance over montages of the performers practising their stripping. It’s as if the editors knew the movie was boring and threw a meagre attempt to keep viewers hooked in some way. Honestly, it’s a little offensive.
Most of Magic Mike’s Last Dance feels this way: as if it was carelessly put together. The script is abysmal, the camera work is both too shaky and painfully static during moments of tension, and the meandering plot doesn’t know if it wants to be Notting Hill or Step Up.
Even a brief cameo from some of the previous Magic Mike stars is incandescently frustrating. The likes of Joe Manganiello and Adam Rodriguez appear on a Zoom call that is so laggy and out-of-focus that it’s actually difficult to watch.
Overall, Magic Mike fans are going to be utterly disappointed with this entry into the franchise. Despite how beautiful the (few) dances are, and how charming Tatum is, Magic Mike’s Last Dance just cannot hold tempo throughout any of its story beats.
Magic Mike’s Last Dance hits cinemas tomorrow.