Every now and then a “people’s movie” comes along…a movie that critics don’t get or even disparage, but which Hollywood Elsewhere surprisingly enjoys along with Joe and Jane…let’s make it Jane Popcorn in this instance. Green Book (mostly shat upon by the woke know-it-alls) was a people’s movie; ditto Bohemian Rhapsody. And now Steven Soderbergh‘s Magic Mike’s Last Dancepartially pissed upon by critics but reportedly really enjoyed by women and gays, hence the current theatrical release rather than straight-to-streaming.

If you assess it as a full package, as a 112-minute movie with a beginning, middle and end, Magic Mike’s last Dance is one-fourth euphoric and three-fourths mezzo-mezzo. The very beginning (totally buffed Channing Tatum, 41, doing a lap dance for Salma Hayek, 55) is genuinely hot, and the ending (a big erotic dance finale at a small London theatre featuring Tatum and 10 or 12 gifted washboard abs slink dancer-grinders) is so good it borders on the transcendent. I mean that.

Don’t worry about the in-and-out middle section in London, which takes up 70 or 75 minutes. Some of it drags, and some of it is okay. All that matters, trust me, is the opening and the ending.

This is going to sound gay but these two sections are so pulse-quickening that I felt stirrings…you know what I mean. Not actual wood due to the overwhelming focus on hot male bods but…well, ’nuff said.

Here’s what I texted to a friend after I emerged from last night’s screening:

“The erotic dancing is Magic Mike’s Last Dance, and I mean especially the shirtless, slinky-bod, dry hump stuff, is magnificent. Part ballet, part breakdance, part Nijinsky and Nureyev, part early ’50s Gene Kelly, part erotic West Side Story, part strip clup, part Babes In Arms…classier and more artified than the last two Magic Mike flicks, but when it gets going it’s really wild!

“The movie itself is somewhere between okay, pretty good and half-decent in an occasionally cliched (I’m not kidding about the Babes in Arms analogy), shuffling along, on-the-nose way. But if I’ve ever seen a turn-on movie for over-40 and even over-50 women, this is the puppy.”

CBC’s Eli Glasner: “If dry-humping was an art form, Channing Tatum would be Pablo Picasso.”

The dance-sex in this film is a much bigger turn-on than the suggested or simulated sex in Emma Thompson‘s Good Luck To You, Leo Grande…I’m telling you.

Soderbergh and screenwriter Reid Carolin are to be commended for investing in a romantic relationship between a 41 year-old guy (Tatum) and a 55 year-old woman (Hayek) — a difference of 14 years. Not as much as the 24 years separating French president Emmanuel Macron (born in ’77) and his wife Brigitte Trogneux (born in ’53), but residing in that general ballpark.

British actor Ayub Khan Din — best known for starring in Hanif Kureishi‘s Sammie and Rosie Get Laid — plays Hayek’s burly, bearded chauffeur. I was kind of shocked when I realized it was the same guy from Sammy and Rosie, which was 35 (going on 36) years ago. Din has put on at least 40 or 50 pounds, and his hair is almost completely silver, not to mention the beard.

Soderbergh shot Magic Mike’s Last Dance under his usual moniker of “Peter Andrews,” but it has to be said that a good portion of it (not the stage-dance scenes or the early lapdance sequence) looks muddy and subdued and generally underlighted. It reminded me of the work of my least-favorite cinematographer, Bradford Young.