Straight-laced Rose breaks off relations with her party girl sister, Maggie, over an indiscretion involving Rose's boyfriend. The chilly atmosphere is broken with the arrival of Ella, the grandmother neither sister knew existed.
John Clark is a man with a wonderful job, a charming wife and a loving family, who nevertheless feels that something is missing as he makes his way every day through the city. Each evening on his commute home, John sees a beautiful woman, staring with a lost expression through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train one night, and signs up for dance lessons, hoping to meet her. At first, it seems like a mistake. His teacher turns out to be not Paulina, but the older Miss Mitzi, and John proves just as clumsy as his equally clueless classmates on the dance-floor. Even worse, when he does meet Paulina, she icily tells John she hopes he has come to the studio to seriously study dance and not to look for a date. But, as his lessons continue, John falls in love with dancing. Keeping his new obsession from his family and co-workers, John feverishly trains for Chicago's biggest dance competition. His friendship with Paulina blossoms, as his ... Written by
Sujit R. Varma
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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 with Bobbie.
Since you probably have seen this version, take a chance and rent the original Japanese film and compare.
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