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Review: ‘Magic Mike’ didn’t go full frontal — for the better

Photo courtesy Warner Bros. Pictures

By Sara Davidson and Hamza Saeed     2/15/23 12:07am

Rating: ★★★

Walking into the theater in a three-piece suit and a beret, we were salivating. Sara was salivating thinking of the food we planned to grab afterwards. Hamza was salivating for some of that Magic Mike action. Neither of us had seen a Magic Mike movie before this one, hoping that the fresh perspective we could offer would lead to greater insights, or at least some surprises. What this actually led to was one hour and 52 minutes of laughter and Hamza attempting to dance along to scenes that had no business being danced to. 

“Magic Mike: The Last Dance” centers around Mike (Channing Tatum), a former adult entertainer turned bartender and Max (Salma Hayek), a rich London socialite that seeks his help in directing a new version of the play “Isabel Ascending.” She flies him out to London with her, which doubles as revenge against her cheating ex-husband, and proceeds to promise Mike $60,000 (or perhaps pounds, currency is never specified). In exchange, he must turn this classic theater show into a strip delight, centered on women’s wants and needs. What ensues next is, of course, sexual tension, lots of stripping and the narrator, the couple’s daughter, getting kicked out of the theater for the water portion of the show. 

Any technical analysis of this movie will reveal the same sad and undeniable truth — this is not a great movie. From cheesy dialogue to an underwhelming ending, “Magic Mike” isn’t quite as enchanting as we hoped it would be. However, it is still very possible to have a good time watching this movie, and we did. Laughing, cringing and letting our mouths hit the floor, we still enjoyed watching — no, experiencing — this movie, flaws and all. Unfortunately, it is still our solemn duty to perform a critical analysis despite that.

We know we shouldn’t expect a Stephen King-esque plot here, and we (mostly Hamza) were not watching this movie for the plot. Still, we were both very invested in the story until the second act. Despite our attempts to suspend belief, the plot begins to unravel under pressure, like a STEM student would in their first humanities class. However, the first dance was sensual and spectacular. This scene highlights how this movie made excellent use of lighting and color to create an intimate atmosphere. There are also mentions of class struggles, and a feminist touch is given through Max, who continuously pushes for women to be able to have it all — despite ending the movie with nothing but Mike. 

Overall, if you want to not take a movie too seriously, this one is great to watch. If you’re looking for the next cinematic masterpiece, this isn’t the one for you, but you probably already knew that.

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