John Clark is a middle aged Chicago estate lawyer. He loves his family, which includes his wife Beverly, but their combined busy schedules and getting caught in a rut after two decades of marriage has left him feeling unfulfilled. While taking the el train home every night, he notices the same young, beautiful contemplative woman staring out of one of the windows of Miss Mitzi's Dance Studio, which specializes in ballroom. He is intrigued enough with her beauty and sadness to go in one evening on his way home. He learns that she is Paulina, one of the instructors and a former world class ballroom dancer. Because of her, he signs up for beginner group dance lessons, regardless of them being taught by Miss Mitzi herself, and not Paulina. As time progresses, John gets caught up in the lives of those at Miss Mitzi's: his two fellow classmates - overweight Vern who wants to learn to dance for his upcoming wedding, and Chic, who wants to impress the ladies - and two of the studio's ...Written by
Remake of 1996 Japanese movie with the same title, different writer (based on the original), and different director. See more »
When John searches for ballroom dancing websites online, the search box says "ballroom dance" but when the search screen comes up, it reads "search results for ballroom dancing" See more »
The rumba is the vertical expression of a horizontal wish. You have to hold her, like the skin on her thigh is your reason for living. Let her go, like your heart's being ripped from your chest. Throw her back, like you're going to have your way with her right here on the dance floor. And then finish, like she's ruined you for life.
[looking up from the floor]
Yeah, why can't you do it like that?
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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!
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