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Dance With Me

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Dance With Me

Starring: Vanessa Williams, Chayanne
Director: Randa Haines
Rated: PG
RunTime: 126 Minutes
Release Date: August 1998
Genres: Romance, Drama, Music

*Also starring: Kris Kristofferson, Joan Plowright, Jane Krakowski, Beth Grant, William Marquez, Harry Groener, Rick Valenzuela

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1.  Susan Granger review follows movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
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Review by Susan Granger
2½ stars out of 4

It's curious that the dethroned 1984 Miss America, Vanessa L. Williams, has probably made a more memorable career for herself than the majority of bland, pretty faces who have worn the Atlantic City crown. (She lost her title after nude photos were published in "Penthouse" magazine.)

In her new movie, "Dance With Me," she does the older woman/younger man samba with Puerto Rican pop singing sensation Chayanne. She plays a sulky single mom who, having been dumped by her abusive professional dancing partner (Rick Valenzuela), teaches two-step classes to Texans at a Houston studio owned by Kris Kristofferson. Along comes sensuous Chayanne, as an ambitious Cuban immigrant (think young Desi Arnaz), and Vanessa's inner rhythms start beating Babaloo! Little does she know that this sizzling handyman from Havana is really Kristofferson's son - of course, no one else knows it either. The muddled, cliche-ridden soap opera story, written by choreographer Daryl Matthews and directed by Randa Haines ("Children of a Lesser God"), revolves around losers becoming winners as the competitive beat goes on, culminating in the predictable, show-stopping dance-contest finale. And there's a brief homage to the late, great Gene Kelly as Chayanne dances through lawn sprinklers a la "Singing in the Rain." But, if you want to see this kind of film even better made, I recommend "Strictly Ballroom" (1992), a witty, spirited, Australian musical, directed by Baz Luhrmann ("Romeo and Juliet"). On the Granger Movie Gauge of 1 to 10, "Dance With Me" is a spicy, schmaltzy 6 with a tangy salsa beat.

Copyright 2000 Susan Granger

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