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You've Been Tangoed
Shall We Dance? (DVD)
Member Name: Essexgirl2006
Shall We Dance? (DVD)
Advantages: Feel-Good movie - not just for dance fans
Disadvantages: Nothing major
Ah - You can't beat a good bit of chick flick fluff. Well, you can, but on the right occasion, chick flick fluff ticks all the boxes. On this occasion boxes needing to be ticked included a bit of romance (check), music (check) a bit of humour (check) and a feel-good story (check). Bonuses include chocolate (already eaten it - damn) and chardonnay (check).
Shall We Dance certainly met my criteria (apart from not being made of chocolate). It is based on a Japanese movie of the same name, which was originally released in 1996. As far as I can tell from the trailer, they haven't really changed the story. John Clark (Richard Gere) is a successful lawyer who deals with people's wills and estates; he has a nice house and life with his beautiful, successful wife Beverley (Susan Sarandon) and two happy, well-adjusted teen-adult children. However there is something missing from John's life that he can't put his finger on. On his train journey home he keeps seeing a beautiful woman looking out the window of Miss Mitzi's dance studio.
Quite what triggers his impulsive decision to learn to dance is not really clear. There seems no unforeseen latent desire to waltz, and the attraction to the aloof, beautiful woman, Paulina (Jennifer Lopez), seems fairly superficial, especially when Susan Sarandon is looking so good, and has less of an attitude. However, we go with the flow here as John enrolls at Miss Mitzi's beginners' class, and meets two other men. Chic (Bobby Cannavale) is going because all ladies love a man who can dance and the chunky Vern (Omar Miller) is trying to lose weight and impress his fiancé. The charms of the three men seem to alarm any potential lady students so they are on their own. Their teacher Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette) is a bit of a lush but is very enthusiastic and the guys get stuck in.
The enigma that is Paulina remains somewhat in the background, working in another room, or occasionally helping out, and it is obvious that John is intrigued by her. He is too embarrassed to tell his family (including his wife) or friends about dancing but discovers that his colleague Link (Stanley Tucci) is also a keen dancer and concealing it. Also practicing at Miss Mitzi's is brassy Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter). With no tact or taste, Bobbie is loud and OTT and is nicknamed the Bobbinator by the men, who are all too scared to dance with her.
Once, when Paulina was upset because Bobbie had spilt spaghetti on her coat, John offered to take her for a Chinese. Paulina made it clear she didn't socialize with students and that if he was coming to class to get with her he was mistaken. Taken aback, John decides to stop going, but then realises that he enjoys dancing and the company of his friends that he has made there. The film continues on with some excellent dance scenes, some comedy 'buddy' scenes and the friendship grows with Paulina, who realises she misjudged John. Meanwhile, Beverley thinks her husband maybe having an affair and hires a private detective…
The cast are all good; although Sarandon and Tucci are under used for their talents they give great performances. Lopez is acceptable, but is not as big a role as I imagined, she is not challenged. Gere heads up the movie very well, Cannavale, Gillette and Miller do some good comic turns although they, and indeed most of the cast, are upstaged by Walter's Bobbie. Director Peter Chelsom does a good job as far as I can see; I would be interested to see the original Japanese version as I suspect this may have a little bit more charm than the re-make.
The music is, of course, ballroom and Latin style numbers. No one piece really stands out.
I really enjoyed this film, it is light, fun and has that all important feel-good factor, and made an hour and three-quarters fly by. I would think this is one of the better films of its genre, although a passing interest in dancing would probably help, I don't think this is necessary but obviously isn't going to appeal to everybody. The film got a 12 certificate in the UK; there is no violence, sex or bad language.
I watched this at a friends', so didn't see the extras. I understand that along with the usual director's commentary, there are a few featurettes, some deleted scenes and a Pussycat Dolls video.
Summary: Pleasant way to while away a Sunday afternoon.