Skip to Content

Magic Mike’s Last Dance Review

Magic Mike’s Last Dance may be the worst film Steven Soderbergh has ever made. Which isn’t to say it is bad, Soderbergh may be incapable of making an out and out bad film even with some of his low budget experiments of the 2000s. But it is thoroughly mediocre in a way Soderbergh has never approached before.

Even personal experiments like Bubble and Full Frontal had clear purpose and meaning to their creator even if they didn’t always resonate beyond that, and everyone was at least having fun on Ocean’s Thirteen. Magic Mike’s Last Dance seems as if it were made by a Soderbergh imitator rather than the auteur himself.

Magic Mike's Last Dance Review

Some eight years since the last time we saw Mike Lane (Channing Tatum), he’s pretty much in the same place he was when we left him… circling around the underbelly of Miami, eking out a living how he can. With the Covid pandemic forcing his furniture to close for good, that means bartender work or anything else he can find… including a $6,000 offer for a private dance to a lonely millionaire (Salma Hayek Pinault) going through a painful divorce.

Awakened by Mike to what she has been missing in life, Maxandra whisks him off to London to transform the stuffy theater she won in her divorce into a haven of modern dance, to see if he can make other women experience what she felt. To give both of them a chance to create new lives for each other.

Magic Mike's Last Dance Review

On the one hand it is admirably different from what has come before. Beyond Mike himself, and a handful of brief appearances from some of his former co-workers and customers at Xquisite, there is nothing connecting Last Dance to its predecessors.

Returning director Soderbergh, who turned the reigns of the sequel over to his regular assistant director Gregory Jacobs, has come back with an eye to change the point of view of the films from men using women’s desires to advance their own wants and plans, to women’s needs physical and otherwise.

And if that’s what the film did, or at least integrated somehow with its former nihilistic naivete that would be something. Instead this film series that started about self-deluded wastrels scrounging a life in the grime of back alley Miami has been transformed into a ‘let’s put on a show’ version of Summer Stock.

If it didn’t say Soderbergh in the credits it would be easy to think of it as the work of sincere imitator. The flair for fluorescent mood lighting and reflections is there, but the rest of the camera work is flat and wooden, the actors struggle with dialogue and the uneven plot (from returning writer and long time Tatum collaborator Reid Carolin) struggles for a central point.

Tatum and Pinault don’t have enough natural chemistry to suddenly evince a central love for both and the screenplay is saddled with a narration from Max’s precocious daughter (Juliette Motamed) — is there any other kind? — that opines on the relationship between dance and love but doesn’t have anything to really say about them.

It wants to push Mike to the side to focus on Maxandra’s internal awakening and struggle with her failed relationship, but it isn’t sure what that is and quickly loses interest with her. Her great plan for a phenomenal show encapsulating female desire unlike anything we’ve ever seen before is… a dance review.

Empty, pointless and lost, Magic Mike’s Last Dance realizes early on it doesn’t have much to say about Mike but isn’t sure what it wants to talk about instead.

There’s still some fun to be had, Soderbergh knows how to stage a scene in and of itself and it is definitely trying something new, but the big ideas never condense into anything of substance. Time for the curtain call.


Warner Bros. PicturesMagic Mike’s Last Dance is now playing in theaters. The film is rated R for sexual material and language.

Magic Mike's Last Dance Review