Shall We Dance (2004)
USA / English
"Step out of the ordinary "A romantic comedy where a bored, overworked Estate Lawyer, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons.
Lost in translation
One of the worst things anyone can do is to try to tackle something
that was made better. Hollywood doesn't seem to learn its lesson at
all. In trying to "Americanize" the great Japanese film of the same
name, the film makers had no idea what they were getting into. In fact,
the original film, directed with great flair by Masoyuki Suo, loses all
its charm with this reincarnation.
That said, this edition of "Shall we Dance" directed by Peter Chelsom,
is not a horrible movie, but the freshness and subtleness of its
Japanese model was lost in the translation. While the Japanese version
was light and captivating, this adaptation is a bit heavy handed. The
editing of the film has a lot to do with out enjoyment, and when the
dance sequences in the competition are clumsily handled as it's the
case here, one wonders what could the creators have been looking at?
The idea of seeing Richard Gere as the man who is intrigued by the
dancing he sees as he passes the dance academy, is not as credible as
one would have expected to be. Mr. Gere is versatile enough as he
already showed with his role in "Chicago". The idea of his character
pulling the wool over his wife Beverly's eyes doesn't come across as
too credible. It seems to be a cultural difference that a Japanese wife
might be less vocal and accepting a straying husband than in this
country by an American wife. That's basically the fatal flaw with the
movie, in our humble opinion.
Jennifer Lopez comes across better. As Paulina she shows a professional
attitude toward her students, but her chemistry with Richard Gere
doesn't create any sparks. Susan Sarandon, as Beverly, the wife who
suspects her husband's betrayal, underplays her role with better
results than some of her late screen appearances. Stanley Tucci's
character is irritating, at best and Lisa Ann Walters does what she can
Since you probably have seen this version, take a chance and rent the
original Japanese film and compare.
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