Magic Mike's Last Dance is about how horny we all are after the pandemic
The third (and final?) outing in the stripper series arrives in cinemas this week.
The first two Magic Mike movies were never really about stripping, they were about the positions that people find themselves in when under financial restraints. Channing Tatum's hip-swivelling hunk had dreams across the first two movies of opening and operating his own little furniture shop, but in order to make money, the universe kept turning him back to the stage to use his natural talents at getting dozens of women simultaneously very excited when he reveals his abs.
By the time we are reunited with him in Magic Mike's Last Dance, the pandemic has killed off his furniture shop, and he's in debt to all of his former stripper pals. Attempting to make ends meet, he's freelancing as a barman for high-end private events, which is where he crosses paths with Maxandra (Salma Hayek Pinault), a rich socialite on the rough end of a divorce. When she discovers Mike's past, she pays him several thousand dollars for a one-off private dance, which was enough of an experience for her to make a very complicated set of decision.
Turns out as part of the divorce, Maxandra now owns a posh London theatre, so she fires pretty much everyone in there and assigns Mike the new director of a brand new adaptation of a much-loved but somewhat stuff old play... except now it will be sexy and have loads of male strippers in it!
So we've got a little bit of a gender-swapped Pretty Woman, mixed in with a little of Ocean's Eleven too, as Mike and Maxandra travel around London to assemble a team... but instead of collecting the best robbers, they're putting together the best troupe of sexy male strippers. That last film touchstone isn't a coincidence either, as director Steven Soderbergh directed the Clooney/Pitt/Damon modern classic, and he returns to the Magic Mike franchise after directing the first but stepping aside for 2015's XXL.
There is A LOT going on in this Last Dance, including the weird power dynamics in relationships between people with all of the money and people with none of the money, as well as the obvious message that after some tough times, the last thing people want is the same sad and drab stories, they want to be entertained. But mostly, Magic Mike has returned to remind us all how incredibly horny the world has become post-pandemic.
Magic Mike and Magic Mike XXL were both celebratory movies about non-toxic male sexuality and how it does not need to confirm to specific ideals anymore. Want to take your top off and twerk in a drag bar? Go for it, and nobody should be judging you for it. But the Last Dance takes place in a different world to those two movies, one that has seen intimacy take some severe body blows. After two-and-a-bit-years of being told by the most important people in the world that we need to keep our distance, this Last Dance is a celebration of being able to get up close and personal with the people who provide enthusiastic consent.
And what could be sexier than that?
Magic Mike's Last Dance arrives in cinemas on Friday, 10 February.
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