Take The Lead (2006)

LIZ FRIEDLANDER

Bil’s rating (out of 5):  BB.5

USA, 2006.  New Line Cinema, Tiara Blu Films.  Screenplay by .  Cinematography by .  Produced by , .  Music by , .  Production Design by .  Costume Design by .  Film Editing by .  

 stars in this tired retread of Dangerous Minds, Mad Hot Ballroom, Strictly Ballroom, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights, Shall We Dance, Music Of The Heart, To Sir With Love, Dance With Me, Save The Last Dance, Sister Act 2: Back In The Habit and Oh Jesus Christ the list goes on forever. He plays a classy ballroom dance instructor who decides to give a group of Manhattan high school kids in lifelong detention the opportunity to improve themselves by learning the foxtrot. At first they spit a series of cliched ghetto phrases at him, but eventually he captures their spirit and they make it all the way to the big-time dance competition with their own ‘FUSION!’ of classic steps and modern hip-hop moves. The kids are great when they hit the floor, and Banderas is so delightfully plucky that it rubs off on the audience from time to time, but every single character has been seen a million times before and nothing in this movie, other than how appealing  continues to be in any role (even one that basically rips off Angela Bassett in Music), manages to catch you by surprise. Not even the fact that, like most cliched movies with no originality, it’s based on a true story.

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