Shall We Dance?
starring Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, StanleyTucci, Lisa Ann Walter, Richard Jenkins, Bobby Cannavale, Omar Miller, Anita Gillette, Ja Rule and Nick Cannon
written by Audrey Wells
directed by Peter Chelsom
This is the American English-language re-make of the Japanese movie“Shall We Dance?” written by Masayuki Suo. I have not seen the Japanese movie, but now having seen the American one I am motivated to do so, and I suspect that even in Japanese, in which I am not fluent, it will be a better film. Not that the Peter Chelsom version is bad, but it’s not great. With Richard Gere in it, what more can I say? Gere, as bored and adrift middle aged Chicagolawyer John Clark who takes up ballroom dancing on a whim just to break the monotony of his life (sitting at a desk all day and writing wills for people), is easily outperformed by almost anyone. For example, Stanley Tucci, as Link - a lawyer at the same firm as John Clark. Link’s private passion is Latin dance, a hobby that he carefully hides from his co-workers. I have seen Stanley Tucci in many films and I like him. He is a slim, muscular, bald-headed actor. Somewhat like Ed Harris, whom I also like very much. I have seen Richard Gere in many films as well and I have never liked him. There is nothing to him except hair - sort of like Japanese Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi.
Visually, I think the Latin dance is much more spectacular than the Waltz and Quick Step that John Clark is taking, and so the Latin dance segments were my favorite. Incidentally, the film’s choreographer, John O’Connell, has a cameo appearance in the movie as a dance judge at the big city-wide competition towards the end of the movie.
This is a love story. It might make you cry. It’s a story about people looking for happiness and pursuing it without reservation. Dance is a passion and an art. The male partner is a frame and his woman is the picture. Everything they do together is to show off the woman. It sounds primitive, but dancing springs from primitive and very sensual instincts.