Bil’s rating (out of 5): BB.5.
USA, 2004. Miramax. Screenplay by Audrey Wells, based on the screenplay by Masayuki Suo. Cinematography by John de Borman. Produced by Simon Fields. Music by John Altman, Gabriel Yared. Production Design by Caroline Hanania. Costume Design by Sophie De Rakoff. Film Editing by Charles Ireland, Robert Leighton.
Bored by his pleasantly numb existence, an estate lawyer (Richard Gere) decides to swallow his fear and sign up for ballroom dance classes at the studio he passes on his way home from work every night. His inspiration is the lovely visage of a sad dancer (Jennifer Lopez) who stands at the studio window every night and looks out upon the lonely night while his El train passes below. Unable to share the new experience with his wife (Susan Sarandon), Gere makes some great new friends and finds a release in dancing that he hasn’t known since his youth. This adaptation of the excellent 1997 Masayuki Suo film of the same title keeps the entire plot virtually intact but has little of the charm and exuberance of the original. The best moments come from Gere’s work with the talented ensemble at the dance studio, as well as any point where the lovely Sarandon is on screen, but it’s nothing you haven’t seen done better in a million other movies (including those of its stars). The dance scenes are pulled off with charm by the performers and very little energy by the filmmakers, making one long for other superior dance films like Strictly Ballroom, Dance With Me or the predecessor to this one. Lopez does a terrific job of being believably modest, and Gere and Sarandon have fantastic chemistry together, but the end result is totally unimportant. Screenwriter Audrey Wells is capable of much more, while director Peter Chelsom (Town and Country) is not.