Last night, five of the eight members of my still-together high school clique The Posse got out our of sweatpants, arranged babysitters, loaded up on caffeine and hit a 7:45 screening of Channing Tatum’s Magic Mike’s Last Dance, the third and (hopefully) final installment of a series that started off on an expected high note and has been descending like a lead balloon since.
The Film Authority tried to warn us, calling the film “vapid” but we didn’t listen.
I saw the first Magic Mike because I wanted to scream and laugh at stripping men with my girlfriends. The film provided that, along with a depth I hadn’t expected that made it a standout hit that, in retrospect, made the string of sequels that are destroying its memory inevitable.
Though objectively not as good a film, I enjoyed the Magic Mike XXL sequel even more than the first. It was less serious and more silly, and provided plenty of opportunities to giggle in the theater. It’s the kind of film that’s made to watch with other people.
So I wasn’t expecting—nor even really wanting—great cinema from Magic Mike’s Last Dance.
I didn’t expect it to be good. I just didn’t think it would be so bad.
When Nina texted that we should go to the movie, I was in without ever watching the trailer. What did I need the trailer for?
This was Magic Mike. We all knew what we were paying for.
So perhaps it’s on me that I kept waiting for Mike’s boys to show up in London to save the day—but Joe Manganiello, Matt Bomer, and Adam Rodriguez never arrived except for one grainy Zoom call.
I hadn’t banked on Matthew McConaughey showing up, but I was hoping for a cameo.
Okay, fine. Forty-year-old-Mike would have to find new boys to make his comeback with. Except, he’s not doing the dancing. He’s directing.
And we never get to know the dancers in his ensemble.
I mean, we don’t even know their names. How’s that for lack of character development?
Instead, we watch a clueless Mike try to become a choreographer hired by rich woman Maxandra (Salma Hayek) whose mood swings would make Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction tell her to calm down.
I honestly thought she was our villain, until Magic Mike said wistfully that “no one ever believed in him like that before” or a piece of similarly generic dialogue.
Yes, she believed in him by undercutting him at every turn, having random outbursts of jealousy during rehearsals, and insisting that their show was about female empowerment.
I’m telling you, their love story will end with her putting an ice pick through his eye because he looked at a waitress in a way she didn’t like.
I could go on; but I’d rather not.
Ginger brought her “Make It Rain Money Maker” along, but we barley had cause to shoot around the fake Benjamins.
Lest you think I’m a film snob, the condemnation was unanimous.
You know I try to keep it positive around here, and say nothing if I really hate something. But if any film ever deserved a roasting, it’s this one. Consider my negativity a public service announcement protecting you from two hours you will never get back.
And I didn’t even mention that, for reasons that elude me, the whole thing is narrated by a British teenage girl.
We should’ve gone to the Titanic reissue instead.