Sunday, October 17, 2004

Shall We Dance?

The other day Judy and I were going to the movies. I had decided that we’d see Team America: World Police. Judy had decided that we’d attend Shall We Dance?.

So, you’re probably asking, how did you like Shall We Dance? It was OK. I’ve seen it reviewed (in the Houston Chronicle, for instance) as a “chick flick,” but it’s not. It’s a “male mid-life crisis” flick, with Richard Gere having the crisis.

Gere, you see, is a lawyer. He writes wills all day and makes plenty of dough. He’s married to Susan Sarandon (!), and he has a teenage daughter who doesn’t think he’s a complete doofus. And yet . . . there’s something missing. He knows he should be unreasonably happy, but he’s not. He feels somehow incomplete, filled with vague longings. He doesn’t know what he needs, or what he’s longing for, but every day as he rides the el-train home, he looks up at Miss Mitzi’s dance studio, where there’s often someone standing in the window looking down at the train. So Gere decides that what he needs is . . . Geritol. Ha ha. Just kidding. What he decides he needs is . . . is . . . Jennifer Lopez.

Well, who among us can blame him? After all, she glows in that window like a religious icon, and, as it turns out, she’s a dancing fool. It’s only when she’s called upon to deliver dialogue that the fantasy takes a serious hit. Maybe that’s why, by the end of the movie, [SPOILER ALERT!] Gere has decided that he what he needs really isn’t J Lo after all. Or maybe it’s because he takes a second look at Susan Sarandon. What he really needs is . . . ballroom dancing! Except that it seems that he might have given it up at the end, which wouldn't be good, so I plan to disregard that implication. I prefer to think that the movie ends with Gere happy and complete and light on his feet. [ END OF SPOILER ALERT!]

This is a nice little movie. It has some laughs, it has a uniformly good cast. Gere is rumpled and relaxed and seems to be having a fine time. Sarandon doesn’t have much of a part, but she’s gorgeous. Among the supporting players, Stanley Tucci, Richard Jenkins, Mya, and Anita Gillette rate special mention. This movie may not give you complete happiness, but it will most likely make you smile and feel good for a little while.

I’ll bet it’s no Team America, though.


Anonymous said...


It's Kent Morgan in Winnipeg. Shall We Dance was filmed in Winnipeg so you can imagine the hype in the papers every day. Gere was spotted here; Jo-L was there; Gere, Carey Lowell and daughter were eating ice cream on Academy Road; Susan Sarandon was at the Fort Garry Hotel for dinner. I was glad to see them leave town. At least Gere's chef got an autographed CD of Chicago for my partner's niece in England. From all reports they liked Winnipeg.

Cap'n Bob Napier said...

My wife wants me to take her to Shall We Dance. I'd rather have my eyes poked out with hot irons. The reviews I've read aren't very encouraging, and I don't care to support J Lo or Sarandon in any manner. Grumble, grumble.

Graham said...

This is a remake of a pretty good Japanese film from a few years ago. I heard that, as remakes go, this one's not bad.

Anonymous said...

"Shall We Dance" is delightful entertainment.....Peter Gabriel's "Book Of Love" worth the price of admission....Great Fun!

Bill Crider said...

Even now I remember it fondly.