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Movie Info


PG-13 for some sexual references and brief language


Oct. 15, 2004


Romantic Comedy/Drama


Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Susan Sarandon, Stanley Tucci, Bobby Cannavale


Audrey Wells


Peter Chelsom




The Japanese Film 'Shall We Dance'


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'Shall We Dance?'

By Phil Boatwright - I really wasn’t looking forward to this remake of the 1997 Japanese film about a businessman wanting to spice up his life by becoming a ballroom dancer. And since Ms. Lopez has failed to find suitable vehicles lately, and because the trailer for the film is a dud, I simply expected the American version to be a misstep. I was pleasantly surprised.

Dissatisfied with his comfortable life, a married businessman takes up ballroom dancing in order to meet a dance instructor he sees each night as his commuter train passes her business. But it doesn’t take long before he realizes that he enjoys dancing. Closely following the Asian version, Miramax has updated it only by replacing the lead roles with Hollywood names and perhaps some American sensibilities.

Our hero keeps this new interest a secret from his wife, but, well, I don’t want to give anything away. Suffice it to say, this is not about adultery, but about a man finding his way and realizing what he has. Not as dimensional as the foreign version, but it is charming, with delightful performances from several supporting actors. What’s more, marriage is lifted up, with Ms. Sarandon giving a profound definition of what it means to be united through life with a soul mate.

Rating: PG-13 The film has three profanities and a couple of minor expletives, as well as a couple of crude sexual innuendos. One macho character is revealed to be a closet homosexual, but the film does not attempt to promote the gay lifestyle.

Video Alternative: If you do not wish to support a film where Christ’s name is used as a mere expletive, then rent the Japanese version. Once you’ve adjusted to the subtitles, you’ll find it most enjoyable.

Phil Boatwright is the editor of The Movie Reporter. Review used by permission. Go to Phil Boatwright's website at for details on how to have reviews of new films delivered directly to your e-mail address.

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