Register  |   Log In  |  
Sign up to our weekly newsletter    
Search   
Empire Magazine and iPad
Follow Me on Pinterest YouTube Tumblr Viber
Empire
Trending On Empire
The Big 2015 Movie Preview
The 50 Best Films Of 2014
Review Of The Year 2014
Subscribe To Empire!
Save up to 70%
Empire
Film Studies 101
Reviews
STAR RATINGS EXPLAINED
Unmissable 5 Stars
Excellent 4 Stars
Good 3 Stars
Poor 2 Stars
Tragic 1 Star

FILM DETAILS
Certificate
12A
Cast
Richard Gere
Jennifer Lopez
Susan Sarandon
Stanley Tucci
Mya.
Directors
Peter Chelsom.
Screenwriters
Masayuki Suo
Audrey Wells.
Running Time
minutes

LATEST FILM REVIEWS
A Fuller Life
3 Star Empire Rating
Futuro Beach
4 Star Empire Rating
Tokyo Tribe
2 Star Empire Rating
Honeytrap
2 Star Empire Rating
Pheonix
4 Star Empire Rating



5 STAR REVIEWS
Still Alice
5 Star Empire Rating
Les Miserables
5 Star Empire Rating
Duke Of Burgundy, The
5 Star Empire Rating
Whiplash
5 Star Empire Rating
Long Good Friday, The
5 Star Empire Rating

Shall We Dance?


submit to reddit


Plot
Beguiled by a face in the window of a dance studio, Chicago lawyer John Clark (Gere) impulsively gets off the train and signs up for dance lessons. He’s ashamed to tell his wife (Sarandon), who imagines he’s having an affair and hires a detective to discover his secret.


Review
The pleasant surprise in this Americanisation of Masayuki Suo’s smashing global hit of 1996 is that it follows the storyline of the Japanese original quite closely. Contrary to the ad implications, this is not a romance between the Gere and Lopez characters, and the part of Lopez’s heartbroken dance instructor has not been blown up to unbalance the ensemble and the film’s essentially comedic nature. Though greeted with some derision in the US, it must stand a better chance here with its distinct Strictly Come Dancing appeal: celebrities with two left feet sweating through gruelling tango-foxtrot trials and trying not to trip over the sequins.

The heart of it is that something intangible is missing in 9-to-5-er John Clark’s comfy life. Instead of getting his ya-yas out with a sports car, a call girl, gambling or fishing, he rediscovers his joie de vivre by releasing his inner Astaire. The Japanese Ordinary Joe was liberated by this, defying the rigid conformity of a society in which such dancing is viewed as shamelessly intimate. Writer Audrey Wells (The Truth About Cats & Dogs) has tried to get around that by making her hero loathe to let his wife know he’s not 100 per cent happy. Only in America could that be postulated as shaming.

Two problems are insurmountable. Lopez can dance, but she comes with
so much baggage you can’t get over her being J.Lo. The other is that the taboo aspect is lost in translation — men in the West have nothing to fear from being known to enjoy a foot-shuffle. Gere’s transformation is funny and charming, but it’s never really believable that this man, with this life and this wife, would find his joy in ballroom dancing.

What works best is the fellowhip in Miss Mitzi’s studio. Tucci, excruciatingly toupéed and spray-tanned, is wild as John’s co-worker with his own closeted Latin dance addiction. John’s disparate classmates, including The Station Agent’s Bobby Cannavale, all have a story to tell and limbs to be tamed, and the surveillance ’tecs, Sins Of The Father’s Richard Jenkins and rapper Nick Cannon, acquire an amusingly critical appreciation for footwork. Director Peter Chelsom brings an affectionate eye and, at times, such as a flying-footed waltz, a distinctive bounce to the proceedings.


Verdict
It’s rather cute, but only the truly girly will fall for the decidedly Officer And A Gentlemanly denouement that injects a belated sexy note.


Reviewed by Angie Errigo

Write Your Review
To write your review please login or register.


CURRENT HIGHLIGHTS
40 Of The Unlikeliest Movie Character Posters
Would you put these one-sheets on your wall?

Who Is The Vision, Anyway?
An introduction to Avengers: Age Of Ultron's newest addition

Jenny Agutter: Role by Role
From Tin to Captain America to The Railway Children

80 Of The Best Movie Star Adverts
From Sly Stallone selling bread to Hugh Jackman dancing for iced tea

Matthew Weiner Reveals 7 Mad Men Secrets
The showrunner on The Beatles and that lawnmower

Empire's Avengers: Age Of Ultron Review
Our verdict on what could be the biggest film of the year...

The 15 Most Controversial Alternate Endings
How some of your favourite films could have finished...

Subscribe to Empire magazine
Subscribe now and save up to 70%

Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month!

Subscribe today

Subscribe to Empire iPad edition
Get The Empire iPad Edition Today

Subscribe and save money on annual digital subscription

Subscribe today
Buy single issues

Subscribe now and save up to 70%
Get exclusive subscriber-only covers each month Subscribe today!
Empire's Film Studies 101 Series
Everything you ever wanted to know about filmmaking but were afraid to ask...
The Empire Digital Edition
With exclusive extras, interactive features, trailers and much more! Download now
Home  |  News  |  Blogs  |  Reviews  |  Future Films  |  Features  |  Interviews  |  Images  |  Competitions  |  Forum  |  Digital Edition  |  Podcast  |  Magazine Contact Us  |  Empire FAQ  |  Subscribe To Empire  |  Register
© Bauer Consumer Media Ltd  |  Legal Info  |  Editorial Complaints  |  Privacy Policy  |  Bauer Entertainment Network
Bauer Consumer Media Ltd (company number 01176085 and registered address 1 Lincoln Court, Lincoln Road, Peterborough, England PE1 2RF)