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|Index||201 reviews in total|
What a match-up of performers! Richard Gere with Susan Sarandon - very
strange initially, but very successful. While we typically identify Mr.
Gere with younger, more stereotypically "beautiful" actors, his pairing
with Ms. Sarandon was most fitting with his role in this film.
As he attempted to connect with himself, the natural entry of Jennifer Lopez into his life was perfect. It was great to see the two characters go from one end of the spectrum to another - hoping to see it go all the way. While initially disappointing (really wanted to see them together), it was a very do-able end result.
Of course, the dancing and music were a great focal point to the story -I loved seeing Mr. Gere and Ms. Lopez doing their "thing." The statistics of the voting on this site for this film were most puzzling. One can only surmise that there were a great many voters who lack a great deal of romance in their souls. Further, as many voters must have lacked an appreciation of great music and dancing.
Clearly, one of the most enjoyable films of 2004.
I should start by admitting that it was quite a while ago (New Years
Day 1997, to be exact) that I watched the Japanese original, 'Shall We
Dansu' (which, incidentally, IS THE ORIGINAL; the Astaire/Rogers 1937
flick, which happens to have the same name, IS NOT). However, although
I don't remember every single detail, the essential feelings as well as
some of the vivid images still seem fresh in my mind, particularly the
glittering performance of Koji Yakusyo and Tamiyo Kusakari.
The Hollywood remake, while not as good as the Japanese original, is at least passing grade, in capturing the essence of the film, 'a man seeking not so much a woman as an answer to his question. Why is she sad? What is she thinking' (Ebert, on 'Shall We Dansu', NOT 'Shall We Dance'), as well as everybody's passion for ballroom dancing.
Richard Gere continues to exude his charm on the female audience. Jennifer Lopez, following Maid in Manhattan, continues to get more comfortable with more matured roles. Oscar best actress (and 5 times nominee) Susan Sarandon is dependable as ever. I'm trying very hard to think of a movie in which I can't find Stanley Tucci and darn it, the more I watch the guy, the more I like him!
I saw the Japanese original film "Shall We Dance?" few years ago and I
was charmed by its subtlety and delicacy. I did not plan to see the
remake because I am not crazy about the remakes in general and I did
not look forward to see Lopez or Gere in the movie together. When I
finally saw the movie (my mom who's seen both films highly recommended
the American version to me), I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.
The cultural contrast of the Japanese film ceased to exist in the 2004 movie but there is still a lot to like in it. First of all, I love to watch good dancing and "Shall We Dance?" has plenty of it. Gere's and Lopez's dancing together has grace and passion, and it was a wonderful moment in the film.
Then, there are memorable and funny supporting characters that had screen time enough to become more than the lifeless shadows - Stanley Tucci (Link) and Lisa Ann Walter (Bobbie) for whom the ballroom dancing is the road to freedom, and happiness.
And the last but not the least, the movie is asking the question, how to make a man happy if he's got everything - the job he enjoys, the family he loves, his health, and good looks but something is missing? It would take more than any movie to answer the question but perhaps it would help one day just take a different road and open a new door?
I do not remember when was the last time I left the movie theater with such positive feelings and in such a good mood as after seeing this movie. Having not seen the Japanese original and having known only that the movie did not perform extremely well in the US, I did not know what to expect when I went in. I was very pleasantly surprised. The movie is very entertaining, sweet and kind in commenting on people's little quirks. Emotionally there is not a single false moment. And there a couple of genuinely funny moments (none better than the Gere-Tucci moment in the men's room). It does help, I guess, if you are over forty (like myself) to understand the yearning of the main character (Gere) who has no reason NOT to be happy in his life, yet he cannot help but missing "something". I loved all the little stories of the supporting characters and I loved the fact that the movie took the time to wrap up all the stories in the end. I guess the movie underperformed because it was seen as a star vehicle whereas it is more an ensemble piece. That is not to say that Gere, Sarandon or Lopez are miscast. Not at all, in fact now that I have seen the movie twice, it is difficult to imagine a different cast, they all seem to be perfectly chosen for their parts. But it is really the supporting cast which really makes the movie work. It is difficult to chose just one, but Stanley Tucci is quite exquisite in his role. Though the movie is rather light in its tone, Sarandon character's observations on the reason why people get married is rather interesting and stays with you after leaving the theater. I hope Peter Chelsom will continue making movies like Serendipity" and this one: there are definitely not enough movies of this kind around anymore. This is a movie I will return to each time I will be feeling down. And a special mention goes to the soundtrack. Chelsom seems to really have a hand for picking the right tunes (Serendipity soundtrack is one of the best movie soundtracks ever) and here the choice of the music really helps to define the emotional core of the movie.
In Chicago, the workaholic lawyer John Clark (Richard Gere) is feeling
bored with his routine life, limited to work and stay at home with his
wife Beverly Clark (Susan Sarandon) and his teenager's son and
daughter. One night, while traveling home by train, he sees the
beautiful face of Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) in the balcony of a dance
school, and a couple of days later, he decides to visit the school and
take dancing classes every Wednesdays. However, he becomes ashamed to
tell his family his "little secret". Meanwhile, Beverly feels the
changes in her happier husband, and hires a private eye to investigate
whether John is having an affair.
"Shall We Dance?" is a delightful entertainment. It is pleasant to see a nice cast like the sexy Jennifer Lopez, the charming Richard Gere, the surprisingly great dancer Stanley Tucci, the funny Lisa Ann Walter, the wonderful Susan Sarandon and excellent support actors and actresses playing and dancing great music along 106 minutes. After watching this feel-good romance, the viewer will certainly feel lighter and relaxed. My vote is seven.
Title (Brazil): "Dança Comigo?" ("Dance With Me?")
Obs: On October 15th 2005, I saw the original "Shall We Dansu?", which is better and better than this remake.
This was a decent movie. It will never be as good as the original but
it was effective and made you feel good in the end. This is the third
Chelsom film I have seen. I didn't see the British movies that brought
him the most acclaim but only Town and Country, Serendipity and now
this one. The first was clearly a disaster. The latter two should not
have worked but they do. Chelsom depends very much on the charisma of
his actors to pull off his movies combined with the whimsy he adds with
With that being said, Gere is very effective in his role. It is his character's likability that sells this movie combined with the colorful supporting actors that show up in Chelsom's movies that provide the final sell for the movie. I predict this movie will spawn an increase in dancing lessons. Like the movie Serendipity, people will leave this movie feeling there is magic in the air and seek out ways to find the magic in their own lives...
This much funnier version of Shall We Dance, is a delicious, romantic comedy that doesn't require magical, unbelievable script devices to make this movie work. This movie is compelling for those who believe in second chances and first chances for those who have never taken chances. This movie comes at a good time in American life when our lifestyles are such that we may be coming to that age that for everything we have, we still are empty. I don't imagine that this movie will dazzle any male ego and will probably be restricted to females who can only wish their partners might somehow be so interested. A good date movie for the emotionally sensitive and artistically inclined. This new version based on the Japanese original explores the comic motif well, doesn't take a lot of liberties on the sexual romance angle that so often befalls American movies, and ends up with a definitely American tie off but with a much more realistic and hopefully plausible note than most gushy romance movies. Eight out of Ten Stars.
I went to this today at a Sneak Preview with my daughter. I was hoping
to not be bored. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find this a
greatly entertaining film, kudos to the screenwriter Audrey Wells who
crafted an excellent presentation from a work originally by Masayuki
Suo, who wrote the Japanese film from which this is a remake. There was
so much I liked it's hard to decide where to begin. At times infectious
with fun and genuinely funny this is a great look at several aspects of
enhancing one's life.
The story was much better than most dance movies as it was less about dance and more about what it means to be human. For that we should thank Director Peter Chelsom whose only other notable work seems to be the film 'Serendipity'. In this outing, the experienced Richard Gere (who, BTW, is only a year older than me) plays a highly successful attorney bored with his life in spite of being married to a stunning and still very sexy Susan Sarandon. He seems to have everything on the surface (how could you not with Ms. Sarandon as a wife?), everything that is, except fun in his life. He longingly spies a brooding Jennifer Lopez staring out the window of an old dance studio in decline as he passes by on the L train each day as he goes home from work. She raises his curiosity enough that he thinks he wants to meet her. It's a dance studio with a sign that says that watching is welcome. Lopez immediately scoops him up for a dance class for beginners in ballroom dancing and there it takes off. His initial interest in the famously callipygous Ms. J is finally supplanted with a genuine love of dancing. He is hooked and it changes his life for the better and we have a great time sharing his new found joy. I was pleased beyond words that this did not fall headlong into what could have been a film of nothing but infidelities. That it didn't follow that path is a laudable tribute to scores of real people who do the same every day; turn away from temptation. I think this is just about my favorite role I've ever seen Gere in. He played the part with great skill and brought out just the right emotions from the audience who applauded at the end. Even the great Ms. Sarandon adds an unexpected turn as philosopher with a comment on the realities of marriage that ring fully true. She made the perfect counterpoint as the amazing superwife who made us all wonder if Gere was nuts for being so unhappy at the start.
As for the rest of the cast, Anita Gillette was wonderfully cast as the studio owner Miss Mitzi. Her portrayal of the older woman who has her best days behind her is both touching and sweet without making us feel sorry for her. She seems in her element here. She did a wonderful job. Bobby Cannavale as 'Chick', whom I last saw playing a ruggedly handsome paramedic in the TV series Third Watch, did a terrific job as one of Gere's fellow beginners. He also gave one of the biggest laughs of the film just at the end. We should be treated to more of him on the big screen, he graces it well. The previously unseen Omar Benson Miller as 'Vern' and Mya who plays his girlfriend both added some warm moments of their own, his in a more literal sense. The very good Lisa Ann Walter plays Bobbie, a very funny character role she wore so well she nearly owned every scene she was in. Just about the best in the film was Stanley Tucci, who did an absolutely brilliant turn as - and I paraphrase - 'Just about the only hetero guy on earth who like parading around dancing in sequins.' He was great, so great in fact, that if he doesn't get a nomination for a Best Supporting Actor award he'd be robbed. He did steal a lot of scenes with no apologies needed. He deserved every one.
The rest of the elements in the film worked very well to paint just the right mood. The sets were realistic and not overly noticeable, leaving the attention to the actors where it belonged. The costuming was great and added some great moments of their own, from Sarandon in a T Shirt to Lopez in an amazing gown near the end to even Gere's tuxedos and natty business suits. But it's the costumes of Tucci and Walter that are the most entertaining. The musical score was great too, just right for the dancing and mood of the film. The sound editing was outstanding, very enjoyable.
We all left the theater with smiles on our faces talking about bringing friends back to see it when it comes out. It is a film well worth the price of admission.
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.
Shall We Dance doesn't break any new ground but those who just want a good time will find it with this film. Richard Gere plays John Clark, a lawyer who feels the need to spice up his stagnating marriage (to Susan Sarandon, no less) by taking ballroom dance lessons from a beautiful and mysterious younger woman (Jennifer Lopez). The plot is okay it just sounds kind of boring. The movie for the most part isn't boring. Its actually quite entertaining. I have never seen the original so I can't compare the two but the original is probably better. I was expecting this film to be horrible as the trailer and early buzz weren't that good but they must have fixed the problems. The cast is pretty good with the best being Susan Sarandon. She does a very good job and she has a fair amount of screen time. Richard Gere does a good job playing John, nothing great but nothing terrible either. Jennifer Lopez's performance isn't very strong and the role didn't really seem to fit her. She gets by with an average performance though. The rest of the supporting cast are very funny and they keep this film moving. Out of all of them, Stanley Tucci was probably the best as Link. His performance of trying to be a young dancer was very funny. There are other interesting characters as well that are in the dance school and are fun to watch them. Peter Chelsom directs and he sure knows how to make this type of film work as he directed the very entertaining Serendipity. The only problem with this film is that its too predictable. Its very by the numbers and doesn't even try to stray away from the familiar path that most romantic comedies take. There was also a lack of chemistry between Lopez and Gere so there scenes together weren't very good or interesting. The running time of 106 minutes goes by fast. The dancing itself was actually pretty good. It wasn't the best but it wasn't terrible either. In the end, this is better then most romantic comedies that have come out in the past year and this film can be enjoyed if your just looking for a good time. Rating 7/10, entertaining but forgettable.
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