My first venture into the world of Magic Mike and it has Nancy Carroll getting a lapdance? Magic Mike’s Last Dance is full of surprises
“No woman wants to be suffocated by testicles”
Despite it involving men stripping, the aggressive heterosexuality of the world of Magic Mike has never really appealed to me, whether on film or on stage here in London, so I had had no intention of catching Magic Mike’s Last Dance, the third film in the franchise. But when someone else was doing the choosing and a hangover had worn down my resistance, this was last night’s entertainment and with a G&T or three…it wasn’t *that* bad.
Or rather, it was enjoyably bad. The fact that the Clapham Grand features quite a lot (as the ‘Rattigan Theatre’) was fun, as was the unexpected appearance of Nancy Carroll as a minor supporting character. But the film is pure bunkum from start to finish, and so strangely sexless (even if I’m not technically the target market) even as Channing Tatum’s abs are waved shamelessly in front of us and Salma Hayek Pinault’s Maxandra “Max” Mendoza.
Max is a wealthy woman in the midst of a divorce from a wealthy Brit and as part of the settlement, she has received a West End theatre – the Rattigan. Having encountered Mike at a fundraising event where he was tending bar as his business went bust in the pandemic and Indecent Propsal-ed him into a lap dance and a shag despite him being retired from dancing, she then employs him (without sex this time) to choreograph an exciting new show to replace the dull play that is currently on at the Rattigan.
Stephen Soderbergh’s film certainly looks handsome but it has no soul whatsoever. This might work in terms of it being a stealth advert for the in-person stage show but in terms of a film in which is meant to be feministically empowering, it is neutered. It’s all so formulaic and montage-heavy, there’s zero character development for anyone save Max and Mike and the framing device of Max’s young teenage daughter narrating in a cod-literary style is painful. But then Nancy Carroll gets a lapdance at the end and all is forgiven! Not one to watch sober but some fun in prospect.