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Shall We Dance

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Shall We Dance

Starring: Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez
Director: Peter Chelson
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 95 Minutes
Release Date: October 2004
Genres: Music, Romance

*Also starring: Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Onalee Ames, Sharon Bajer, Bobby Cannavale, Nick Cannon, Len Cariou, J.D. Crew, Anita Gillette

Review by Steve Rhodes
2 stars out of 4

You gotta love Hollywood. They really know what American consumers want. We don't want sweet subtlety. We want it crude and over the top and with the biggest stars we can get. Setting out to remake the delightful Japanese picture, SHALL WE DANCE?, the studio turned a cute little charmer into a slapstick sitcom, starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere in a pair of chemistry-free and charisma-free performances. The Japanese original was magical, but this remake thinks that entertainment comes only from laughs at cheesy pratfalls.

When we meet John Clark (Gere), he's a wealthy but unhappy attorney. He has a gorgeous wife, Beverly (Susan Sarandon), and two older kids, but the family is too busy to spend time together. When his wife isn't working, she is busy volunteering at the school. Her only complain about John is that he never wants anything for his birthday. Well, John, who evening after evening travels home on the train and gazes wistfully at a dance instructor, an ice princess named Paulina (Lopez), finally realizes that there is something he wants -- dance lessons.

His wife, of course, suspects him of having an affair. And, equally predictably, she hires a couple of doofus detectives to follow her hubby home and see where he gets sidetracked along the way. She should worry given the company he keeps. Among his fellow male, would-be dancers is an offensive guy named Chic who explains that the reason he is taking lessons is that "guys who know how to move on the dance floor know how to move in the sack." Any woman with half a brain wouldn't get within ten miles of this loser.

But it isn't Chic who provides the film's low points. That "honor" goes to Stanley Tucci, who plays Link Peterson. Link works in the same office as John, but Link has an alter ego who puts on the worst wig and fake teeth imaginable in what looks like a bad parody of John Travolta in SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER. The fiftyish Link sees himself as a twenty-year-old hunk of a dancer. Others see him and want to run. The next time you really enjoy a foreign film, please keep it to yourself, lest Hollywood decide to remake it into a form more palatable to U.S. audiences.

SHALL WE DANCE? runs a long 1:46. It is rated PG-13 for "some sexual references and brief language" and would be acceptable for kids around 8 and up.

Copyright 2004 Steve Rhodes

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