In a surprising third entry of Tatum and Soderbergh’s stripper who no longer wants to be a stripper any more franchise, we see Mike Lane, aka Magic Mike, brought out of retirement to help a wealthy socialite Max (Selma Hayek) put on a new type of theater experience in London. Soderbergh and screenwriter Reid Carolin put together a film that at times feels like a gender-flipped Pretty Woman that becomes a film about filmmaking with a heavy dose of romantic tension and beefcake for those that like it. While it may not be as pleasing in some regards as Magic Mike XXL was, I feel the filmmaking in this one is stronger. Soderberg uses plenty of interesting camera tricks in terms of movement, blocking, and framing. It keeps the eye interested even if you don’t care much about the lap dancing and gyrating on screen. The lighting in the film is also excellent, with its use of color and direction to push character and mood that you actually wouldn’t expect it unless you are a fan of Soderbergh. Tatum is perfect as this character that started out inspired by his past; all his leading man charm and charisma is on screen here and great bouncing off of Hayek. Hayek plays a woman who seems to know what she wants and is in control but isn’t. The two feel comfortable with each other when on screen together – their relationship feels natural to me. It’s also how their attempt to make this show turns the film into this meta dialogue about making movies is, where some of the smarter scenes work visually through their performances. Ayub Khan Din as Max’s butler, Victor, has some real good witty lines in the film and Jemelia George as Zadie, Max’s daughter is used as narrator/point of view character of sorts I found interesting but might not work for everyone. Juliette Motamed plays actress Hannah who, instead of leaving when she has a chance, wants to join in on whatever they are doing and is having a ball in her performance. And for those who want to know, there are more than enough dancing males with no shirts throughout the film – it’s still for those fans. I really think this film was good and it should be a good time to see it in the theater.
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