Shall We Dance starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere
Synopsis of the DVD Movie: Shall We Dance starring Jennifer Lopez and Richard Gere
A romantic comedy where a bored, overworked accountant, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons
DVD Movie Rating for: Shall We Dance
Rating for Shall We Dance: 5 out of 5 stars
Movie Plot of: Shall We Dance
For longer than he can remember, John Clark (Richard Gere) has led a dull existence. Even with a successful career, charming wife (Susan Sarandon) and loving family, he feels something is missing as he makes his mind-numbing commute through the city each day.
But one night, on his evening ride home, he looks up to see a beautiful woman (Jennifer Lopez) staring through the window of a dance studio. Haunted by her gaze, John impulsively jumps off the train and signs up for dance lessons…and his whole life begins to change. He enters a world he never imagined, a place filled with grand passions, bitter rivalries, great friends and strange couples—and it’s about to reignite the excitement in John’s life in ways he’s never dreamed.
DVD Production Details of: Shall We Dance
The release date for Shall We Dance: 1 Feb 2005
DVD Extra Bonus Features
Feature commentary with director Peter Chelsom
Deleted scenes with optional director commentary
"Beginner's Ballroom" featurette on ballroom dancing
Behind the scenes featurette
The Music of Shall We Dance? featurette
Pussycat Dolls "Sway" music video
Cast of the movie: Shall We Dance
- Richard Gere .... John Clark
- Jennifer Lopez .... Paulina
- Susan Sarandon .... Beverly Clark
- Stanley Tucci .... Link Peterson
- Bobby Cannavale .... Chic
- Nick Cannon .... Scotty
- Anita Gillette .... Miss Mitzi
- Lisa Ann Walter .... Bobbie
- Omar Benson Miller .... Vern (as Omar Miller)
- Richard Jenkins .... Detective
- Onalee Ames .... Diane
- Sharon Bajer .... Woman at Party
- Len Cariou
- J.D. Crew
- Tamara Hope .... Jenna
- Kim Kindrick
- Stan Lesk .... Flower Man
- Sean O'Brian .... Parking Attendant
- Melissa Panton
- Diana Salvatore .... Tina
- Stark Sands
- David Sparrow .... Louis
- Denis Tremblay
- Katya Virshilas .... Perky Girl
- Deborah Yates
Photo Gallery of the movie: Shall We Dance
Click on one of the thumbnails to see the full size high quality photos, posters and wallpapers of Shall We Dance
Reviews of the movie: Shall We Dance
JENNIFER Lopez's butt-hug ging costumes are the most memorable thing about "Shall We Dance," a lead- footed and otherwise in stantly forgettable remake of the charming 1997 Japanese musical of the same title.
As the sad-eyed ballroom dancing teacher Paulina, the erstwhile Flygirl doesn't exactly set off sparks with Richard Gere, who sleepwalks - and sleep-dances - his way through the role of John, a bored, middle-aged estate attorney.
You see, the zest has gone out of John's marriage to Beverly (Susan Sarandon), the beautiful mother of his two daughters.
So when he spots Paulina gazing wistfully out the window when he passes by the studio where she works on his way home on the Chicago El, John gets off and impulsively signs up for lessons.
Anyone expecting these two to eventually get horizontal is going to be mightily disappointed - they don't even kiss.
Paulina haughtily rebuffs John's invitation to dinner, and he is instead left in the capable hands of Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette), the studio's aging and tippling owner.
Jennifer Lopez is consigned to the background for much of the movie - we'd guess most of her footage was consigned to the cutting-room floor as a form of damage control, given a performance that's stiff even by her usual standard - as the initially awkward John interacts with the studio's other stereotypically wacky clients.
They include a large, clumsy and sweet black man named Vern (Omar Miller) and the somewhat more coordinated Chic (Bobby Cannavale), a closet case who invariably boasts about his love for the ladies.
The pros at Miss Mitzi's are Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter), a blowsy blonde, and the tango specialist, Link (Stanley Tucci, in a making-straw-of-hay performance), who turns out to be a colleague of John's hiding under a hideous wig - a heterosexual with a yen for sequins.
Meanwhile, John's suspicious wife, Beverly, hires a private detective (Richard Jenkins), who leads her to the big - and totally anticlimactic - dance competition, where the much-improved John fills in as Bobbie's partner.
At a recent paid advance screening, much of the audience was yawning or nodding off by this point - there isn't even any exciting dancing here, and what hoofing there is has been heavily edited, usually with the dancers' feet cropped off.
Compare that with the extended clip of Fred Astaire and Cyd Charisse in "The Band Wagon" - uncropped and unedited - that has unwisely been included by the uninspired director, Peter Chelsom ("Town and Country").
The screenplay, attributed to Audrey Wells ("Under the Tuscan Sun"), follows the original closely, which is another mistake. The Japanese story took place in a culture where touching is avoided and it actually made sense for the husband to sneak off for dance lessons.
The low point of the new "Shall We Dance" comes when Miss Paulina finally confesses why she's so sad.
It may be the first time that an actress who gets a reported $10 million a movie has her big dramatic monologue demoted to narration over a lame montage.
No, thank you, I'll sit this "Dance" out. Remakes are always risky, especially when the original flick is as beloved as Masayuki Suo's enchanting "Shall We Dance?" But even taken by itself, the American version of "Shall We Dance?" is a limp exercise in romantic comedy, that steps on its own toes over and over.
John Clark (Richard Gere) has it all -- a successful career, a lovely and loving wife (Susan Sarandon), and a good home. So, of course, he's not satisfied and has a weird midlife crisis -- on the way home, he sees a woman (Jennifer Lopez looking sadly out her window at a dancing studio. He decides that his life has no meaning without a depressed pretty woman, and signs up for dancing lessons.
Unfortunately, he ends up with older Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette), not window-gazing Paulina. For some inexplicable reason (it's the 21st century! Can't men dance if they want?), Clark keeps his dance lessons a secret from his wife, and she starts suspecting he's having an affair. So she hires a private detective to shadow him, as Clark's dances with Paulina get hotter.
The basis of "Shall We Dance?" was ballroom dancing, and its awkward place in Japanese culture. But it doesn't make ANY sense when you shift it to Chicago -- the American culture is so different that the social commentary is simply tossed out the window. Instead, we get J.Lo, which is apparently supposed to cover the gaping plot holes. Guess what -- it doesn't work.
Usually a remake strays from the original plot, but unfortunately this clings close to the original. Scripting and camerawork are full of words and shots that echo too loudly of the original. Not out of respect for Masayuki Suo, but apparently out of artistic laziness -- it's like a xerox of a classic manuscript.
What does Peter Chelsom give this movie. Here's what he gives it: Vulgar bright colours, and silly subplots involving Tucci's disguises and Bobby Cannavale as a closeted macho man. Too much time is spent on the moronic side characters, apparently so we don't notice the plot's lack of logic.
Richard Gere does a passable job as a bored businessman, but he's somewhat overshadowed by the subtle, strong performance by Susan Sarandon, and a fun turn by Stanley Tucci. Jennifer Lopez proves again that she is Hollywood's most inept actress. She's supposed to convey heartbreak, yearning and depth, and only manages a sort of blank sullenness. She dances well, but that's all.
"Shall We Dance?" takes a small, charming Japanese sleeper hit and remakes it as a big, brassy all-star movie with the grace of a dancing mammoth. A few fleeting sweet moments and a pair of great performances save it from utter mediocrity, but it's a near thing.
Unsure of what to get him for his birthday, Beverly Clark (Susan Sarandon) buys her husband, John (Richard Gere), a bathrobe. The gift is sensible but meaningless, and she knows it. Beverly would rather purchase John something he truly desires, something - as she puts it - you can fit in a box.
The package would have to be big enough to hold Paulina (Jennifer Lopez), the hauntingly beautiful dance instructor John ritually eyeballs during his evening commute. One impulsive night, John enters Paulina's studio and enrolls in her class. His physical attraction introduces him to the school, but it's an untapped love for ballroom dancing that keeps him coming back week after week.
Despite Patrick Swayze's best efforts, our culture's collective opinion on male dance remains at an all time low, and the wishy-washy "Shall We Dance?" fluctuates between two opposing opinions of gentlemen in soft shoes. On one end, "Dance" ridicules any man brave enough to shake his hips to Latin rhythms - brave Stanley Tucci dons a hideous wig and false teeth so his small-minded co-workers won't recognize his inner lean, mean dancing machine.
At the same time, "Dance" demands we root for John, who gains enough courage to enter a competition but not enough to tell his family about this new hobby. That two-headed monster of a message splits "Dance" in half, with very little in the middle to glue it back together.
The shame felt by a dance-infatuated dude made more sense from a cultural standpoint in the original Japanese version of "Dance." This Americanized version, while decently acted, sounds more like a punchline delivered in poor taste - straight men shouldn't sway, unless it serves a particular plot point or hammers home a half-hearted sentiment.
SHALL we dance? Jennifer Lopez is one actress who shouldn't give it a second thought.
The only time J.Lo looks comfortable in this mid-life rite of passage about an overworked Chicago lawyer is when she's quick-stepping it around Miss Mitzi's rundown dance studio.
The Latina beauty has been taking dance lessons since she was five. And the Hollywood diva is right at home when her character, Paulina, puts the students through their paces in Shall We Dance?.
Once the music stops, however, it's as if she's left with the actor's equivalent of two left feet.
Paulina is supposed to be a woman with a past, a shining example of potential tragically thwarted - ballroom dancing's equivalent of Lady Havisham perhaps.
But J.Lo just looks as if she has stepped in something nasty. And the shots of her looking longingly out of Miss Mitzi's top-floor window suggest clothing crisis rather than some kind of a larger existential angst.
As an image, it doesn't seem potent enough to lead a decent, hardworking family man like John Clark (Richard Gere) off his straight-and-narrow path. But when a man's going through a mid-life crisis, he doesn't really need much of an excuse.
Shall We Dance? is based on a hugely successful Japanese film about a salaryman drawn to the dance studio he can see from the window of his train during his nightly commute to Tokyo's outer suburbs.
Screenwriter Audrey Wells (Under The Tuscan Sun) has made a decent attempt at translating the story into American.
In this version, Clark is a successful lawyer who lives in a comfortable house in the suburbs with his sexy, capable wife (Susan Sarandon) and their two teenaged children.
Initially attracted to Paulina rather than ballroom dancing itself, he is slowly transformed by his new obsession.
The filmmakers go to great lengths to keep John and Paulina's attraction largely "innocent".
They needn't have bothered, because there's absolutely no chemistry between Gere and Lopez, except perhaps during the Flashdance-style sequence in which they get hot and sweaty one night in the studio.
Gere and Sarandon work much better as a couple, largely because she injects the necessary warmth and vulnerability into the equation.
Stanley Tucci provides some welcome light relief as Clark's colleague, Link Peterson, a closet ballroom dancing fan.
Shall We Dance? really only finds its feet on the dancefloor. In a musical, this might be forgivable. But in a comedy/drama, there are too many flat spots in between.
If you have ever jumped up in the middle of a movie and yelled "Yes!" and then jumped a few more times spontaneously because you couldn't help yourself, Shall we Dance? is the movie for you. Richard Gere's portrayal of John Clark, a happily married workaholic who goes through a midlife crisis and therefore starts dancing lessons, is as funny as it is touching, and if you like chickish flicks, you will be jumping for joy by the end.
While it is true that the movie is full of little victories that will send you soaring from your seat, it also has a more serious undertone which analyzes the social connotations of men dancing in our society. In this way it does not qualify as a full-blown chick flick, and therefore all you skeptics out there can lower your turned-up noses slightly. This is no Fahrenheit 9/11, but the understated comments on our society as a whole are audible, and add a nice touch of credibility to the film.
Overall, the plot is fairly simple: a lawyer who is very much in love with his wife is still not quite happy with his life, and finds an interest in dance lessons after seeing a forlorn Paulina (played by Jennifer Lopez) staring out of the window of a squalid dance studio on his way home from work. On a whim, Gere gets off the Metro and runs into the studio, trying to meet the enchanting young woman, and ends up signing up for Beginning Ballroom. He hides his lessons from his wife (Susan Sarandon), who then hires a private detective because she thinks he is having an affair. As the movie progresses, the conflict between the aging couple and the possible sexual tension between John and Paulina keep the plot fresh.
Though the plot is consistently interesting and crisp throughout the film, the physical and verbal humor does not develop until the end of the film. There are certainly hilarious moments, many produced by the presence of Link (Stanley Tucci), one of John's co-workers who also loves dancing but keeps his passion private. However, the funny side of Gere's situations does not blossom early enough to keep comedy lovers satisfied, so don't just go to this movie for laughs.
If you are looking for less of a "ha" and more of an "ooh" and "ah," be sure to examine the costumes of the movie. Understandably, a movie about ballroom dancing is going to have some pretty dresses, but this crew went to extreme lengths to make the women look beautiful (or at least in character) and the men look debonair.
The appearances of various well-known celebrities were also pleasant surprises. Nick Cannon plays a small role as Scotty, the extremely educated assistant of the private detective hired to keep an eye on John. His many quotes of famous authors and even snappy lines original to the character were well-placed and appreciated; when another member of the dance studio, Bobbie (played by Lisa Ann Walter), asks whether he likes Paulina, he replies, "I like a woman built for comfort, not for speed." An appearance of Mya at the end of the movie is also surprising, but fits the plot well.
The music similarly suited the plot, with noticeable but not overpowering themes which added just enough to the story. For example, the repetition of the song "Shall we Dance" from The King and I establishes a musical theme which feeds back into the title of the movie, but is tastefully added so as not to become obsolete.
Although the little touches like thematic music and awesome costumes were fun, the movie does have a tendency to get a little too romantic, especially towards the end. If you have a problem swallowing copious amounts of romance along with your popcorn, watch a different movie. But if you can handle lovey-dovey scripting as long as it is believable, pack up your dancing shoes and consider tapping your feet to this movie for 95 minutes.
Overall, Gere has proved to us before that he can dance (Chicago) and that he can be romantic (Runaway Bride), but this movie shows the double threat of quick feet and sparkling eyes can be a hit as well. Hold onto your skirts as Shall we Dance? waltzes its way onto the big screen.
Movies filled with romance and dance are exhilarating and exciting. Flashdance and Footloose, for example, combined the two elements with terrific results. And so Shall We Dance? had the potential to be great. But the romance in the movie is between a middle-aged couple already married to each other, and the dancing is not the wild, crazy and spectacular dancing found in other dance films. Instead Shall We Dance? offers viewers ballroom dancing: waltzes, quickstep and rumba. And the footwork is not enough to keep the movie from tripping and falling into boredom.
In the film, which is based on a 1997 Japanese movie of the same title, Chicago probate lawyer John Clark (Richard Gere, Chicago, Runaway Bride) has become tired of his monotonous life. After 20 years of writing wills, he has everything he wants, but somehow, it's not enough to prevent the tired cliché of a mid-life crisis. One night, while riding the train home, he spots a forlorn beauty gazing despondently out the window of Miss Mitzi's Dance Studio. After seeing her in the window for several nights, Clark jumps off the train and enters the studio. He signs up for ballroom dancing lessons in an attempt to meet the disaffected girl, Paulina (Jennifer Lopez, Maid in Manhattan, The Wedding Planner).
Taught by Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette, Larger Than Life), Clark and two classmates, Chic (Bobby Cannavale) and Vern (Omar Miller), slowly begin to improve their dancing skills, advancing from having two left feet to being accomplished ballroom dancers in a head-spinning amount of time.
Along the way, Clark meets many eccentric characters, including the wild dancer Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter, The Parent Trap) whose crazy costumes seem to never end, and Link Peterson (Stanley Tucci, Road to Perdition), Clark's coworker, who has been covertly dancing for years under a Latin guise.
Tucci's character was the best part of the movie. His skintight costumes, terrible wig and self-tanning are hilarious, as is his transformation from balding white-collar worker by day into the wild Latin ballroom dancer that he becomes every night. Peterson is nothing if not likeable, and the audience can sympathize with his inability to reveal his true identity as a dancer.
However, likeable characters can't fix the fact that the whole plot is inconceivable from start to finish. Clark hides his dancing from his family because he is embarrassed that he hadn't been happy with his life. His secrecy causes his wife (Susan Sarandon) to hire a private detective in order to make sure Clark isn't having an affair. Somehow, Clark's dancing changes all the lives around him, from the despondent Paulina to Clark's wife. Most implausibly, the film requires that viewers believe that three men with no prior dance experience can become good enough to compete in dance contests in less than three months.
The small romances that occur throughout the film, although cheesy and unbelievable, are mildly enjoyable. It's hard not to like the various dancers and hope for happy endings, which are readily supplied by the film. The dancers are all fun and unique characters, but it's unfortunate that the plot is so terrible.
Shall We Dance? is a good way to waste a few hours, but the movie just isn't worth $8.50. It's better to wait for it to come out on video and rent it as a late-night, no-thought-needed slumber-party film.
Shall We Dance?(106 minutes) is rated PG-13 for some sexual references and brief language.