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Emmanuel Ravens
Emmanuel Ravens

Shall We Dance (2004) VERIFIED

Shall We Dance? (2004 film) is recorded in English and originally aired in United States. Each episode of Shall We Dance? (2004 film) is 106 minutes long. Shall We Dance? (2004 film) is distributed by Miramax Films.

Shall We Dance (2004)

A midlife crisis is hardly an original plot device. However, it gets a unique perspective in Shall We Dance. After 19 years of marriage, two children, and a repetitive job, John decides to take ballroom dance lessons. At first, he is attracted to the lessons because of one of the attractive instructors. He makes a weak attempt at seducing her. She quickly shoots him down. He sticks with the dancing as he has discovered that he likes it. His wife has no idea he is taking a dancing class and assumes he is having an affair.

Lopez does nothing in this film, other than wear butt hugging dresses. Any number of actresses could have played her role with out affecting any change to the movie. Of course, her character is not very well fleshed out. All that we learn about her is that she is a dancer who lost a big contest and a boyfriend recently. She has one solo dance number that shows off her moves and a few with Gere.

Speaking of dancing. Shall We Dance uses dancing as a metaphor for happiness. John does not have a sad life, it is just lacking in happiness. He finds it in dance class. Dancing is passionate and liberating. It works well as symbolism, but it also gives me something to complain about.

At one point in the movie, the entire dance class watches a scene from The Band Wagon (1953). In it, Fred Astaire and Cyd Charise dance in a long continuous shot. They had talent! You knew that they practiced that number a hundred times to get it right for the movie. You gotta respect their conviction. The dance scenes in Shall We Dance are so edited that I do not believe for a moment that Gere actually ever performed an entire dance routine. The director should have left the camera alone and just let the dancing be it's own editor. The quick shots and edits to add movements to the dances do not work. It only made me wish all the more for an old time musical number, where you know for sure that the actors are actually dancing and not just posing.

Lisa Ann Walter and Stanley Tucci provide the comic relief. Walter plays a dance student who constantly wears tacky, skintight clothes over her large rear end and then barks at everyone to, "Quit staring at my ass!" Tucci plays John's coworker, who is a closet dancer. He pretends to like sports at work but then dresses up in a disguise and dances at night.

Gere plays John Clark, a workaholic lawyer who seems to be living the American dream. He has a nice home, two great kids, and a wonderful, loving wife named Beverly (Susan Sarandon). So why isn't he happy? One day, while traveling home on the El, he spies the lonely, lovely Paulina (Lopez) staring out the window of a dance studio. Intrigued, he decides to sign up for lessons. Soon, he is learning all the right moves from the studio's owner, Miss Mitzy (Anita Gillette), but his eyes always stray to Paulina, who is giving private lessons in an adjoining room. As his lessons progress, he learns to his surprise that the dancing gives him release and happiness, and he agrees to partner with the abrasive Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter) in an upcoming competition. Meanwhile, Beverly is convinced that her husband is having an affair, and hires a private investigator to uncover the truth.

Dancing is supposed to be a passionate and sensual endeavor. The best screen movies capture the unspoken essence of the interaction between partners. Films like Strictly Ballroom and Tango crackle with electricity. The dance scenes come alive. Such is not the case in Shall We Dance? Here, there's a stateless to the numbers. They are, in a word, boring. Even the antics of Stanley Tucci, playing a manic Latin dancer, can't liven things up. In choreographing the dance sequences, Chelsom shows too much restraint and good taste. As a result, the ending, although it makes perfect sense and offers closure, seems muted and oddly unsatisfying. I walked out of the original Shall We Dance? with a silly grin on my face. I left this one shaking my head, wondering where it had all gone wrong. The answer lies in the title of another film about the cultural schism between East and West: Lost in Translation.

The soundtrack to Shall We Dance? is a predictable, but still pleasant, mix of different types of dance music and pop. The Pussycat Dolls take to the dancefloor with the Latin-tinged "Sway" and Gizelle D'Cole and Pilar Montenegro's "I Wanna (Shall We Dance)" follows suit, while Jamie Cullum applies his cheeky, jazzy style to "I Could Have Danced All Night." Ballroom standards like "Happy Feet," "Espana Cani," "Perfidia," "Moon River," and "The 'L' Train" are competently played and also invite listeners to at least tap their toes, if not venture out onto the dancefloor themselves. Although ballads like Peter Gabriel's "The Book of Love" and Rachel Fuller's "Wonderland" seem a little out of step with the rest of this lively soundtrack, overall this is a decent musical souvenir for Shall We Dance? fans.

The story is simple. John Clark (Richard Gere) is a lawyer in Chicago with a busy but loving wife (Susan Sarandon) and two kids, yet he is unsatisfied. After glimpsing a beautiful woman gazing out the window of a ballroom dance studio from his commuter train, John signs up for lessons hoping to get to know her. Although he gets better and better at dance, the icy, heartbroken Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) turns out to be a tough bird to catch. 041b061a72


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