Shall We Dance (2004) Poster

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7/10
Shall We Dance? - Why Not?
Galina_movie_fan11 May 2005
I saw the Japanese original film "Shall We Dance?" few years ago and I was charmed by its subtlety and delicacy. I did not plan to see the remake because I am not crazy about the remakes in general and I did not look forward to see Lopez or Gere in the movie together. When I finally saw the movie (my mom who's seen both films highly recommended the American version to me), I was surprised how much I enjoyed it.

The cultural contrast of the Japanese film ceased to exist in the 2004 movie but there is still a lot to like in it. First of all, I love to watch good dancing and "Shall We Dance?" has plenty of it. Gere's and Lopez's dancing together has grace and passion, and it was a wonderful moment in the film.

Then, there are memorable and funny supporting characters that had screen time enough to become more than the lifeless shadows - Stanley Tucci (Link) and Lisa Ann Walter (Bobbie) for whom the ballroom dancing is the road to freedom, and happiness.

And the last but not the least, the movie is asking the question, how to make a man happy if he's got everything - the job he enjoys, the family he loves, his health, and good looks but something is missing? It would take more than any movie to answer the question but perhaps it would help one day just take a different road and open a new door?
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10/10
Romantic and life affirming
hmilo200017 May 2005
I do not remember when was the last time I left the movie theater with such positive feelings and in such a good mood as after seeing this movie. Having not seen the Japanese original and having known only that the movie did not perform extremely well in the US, I did not know what to expect when I went in. I was very pleasantly surprised. The movie is very entertaining, sweet and kind in commenting on people's little quirks. Emotionally there is not a single false moment. And there a couple of genuinely funny moments (none better than the Gere-Tucci moment in the men's room). It does help, I guess, if you are over forty (like myself) to understand the yearning of the main character (Gere) who has no reason NOT to be happy in his life, yet he cannot help but missing "something". I loved all the little stories of the supporting characters and I loved the fact that the movie took the time to wrap up all the stories in the end. I guess the movie underperformed because it was seen as a star vehicle whereas it is more an ensemble piece. That is not to say that Gere, Sarandon or Lopez are miscast. Not at all, in fact now that I have seen the movie twice, it is difficult to imagine a different cast, they all seem to be perfectly chosen for their parts. But it is really the supporting cast which really makes the movie work. It is difficult to chose just one, but Stanley Tucci is quite exquisite in his role. Though the movie is rather light in its tone, Sarandon character's observations on the reason why people get married is rather interesting and stays with you after leaving the theater. I hope Peter Chelsom will continue making movies like „Serendipity" and this one: there are definitely not enough movies of this kind around anymore. This is a movie I will return to each time I will be feeling down. And a special mention goes to the soundtrack. Chelsom seems to really have a hand for picking the right tunes (Serendipity soundtrack is one of the best movie soundtracks ever) and here the choice of the music really helps to define the emotional core of the movie.
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9/10
Great Fun
bjones2 October 2004
I went to this today at a Sneak Preview with my daughter. I was hoping to not be bored. I was more than pleasantly surprised to find this a greatly entertaining film, kudos to the screenwriter Audrey Wells who crafted an excellent presentation from a work originally by Masayuki Suo, who wrote the Japanese film from which this is a remake. There was so much I liked it's hard to decide where to begin. At times infectious with fun and genuinely funny this is a great look at several aspects of enhancing one's life.

The story was much better than most dance movies as it was less about dance and more about what it means to be human. For that we should thank Director Peter Chelsom whose only other notable work seems to be the film 'Serendipity'. In this outing, the experienced Richard Gere (who, BTW, is only a year older than me) plays a highly successful attorney bored with his life in spite of being married to a stunning and still very sexy Susan Sarandon. He seems to have everything on the surface (how could you not with Ms. Sarandon as a wife?), everything that is, except fun in his life. He longingly spies a brooding Jennifer Lopez staring out the window of an old dance studio in decline as he passes by on the L train each day as he goes home from work. She raises his curiosity enough that he thinks he wants to meet her. It's a dance studio with a sign that says that watching is welcome. Lopez immediately scoops him up for a dance class for beginners in ballroom dancing and there it takes off. His initial interest in the famously callipygous Ms. J is finally supplanted with a genuine love of dancing. He is hooked and it changes his life for the better and we have a great time sharing his new found joy. I was pleased beyond words that this did not fall headlong into what could have been a film of nothing but infidelities. That it didn't follow that path is a laudable tribute to scores of real people who do the same every day; turn away from temptation. I think this is just about my favorite role I've ever seen Gere in. He played the part with great skill and brought out just the right emotions from the audience who applauded at the end. Even the great Ms. Sarandon adds an unexpected turn as philosopher with a comment on the realities of marriage that ring fully true. She made the perfect counterpoint as the amazing superwife who made us all wonder if Gere was nuts for being so unhappy at the start.

As for the rest of the cast, Anita Gillette was wonderfully cast as the studio owner Miss Mitzi. Her portrayal of the older woman who has her best days behind her is both touching and sweet without making us feel sorry for her. She seems in her element here. She did a wonderful job. Bobby Cannavale as 'Chick', whom I last saw playing a ruggedly handsome paramedic in the TV series Third Watch, did a terrific job as one of Gere's fellow beginners. He also gave one of the biggest laughs of the film just at the end. We should be treated to more of him on the big screen, he graces it well. The previously unseen Omar Benson Miller as 'Vern' and Mya who plays his girlfriend both added some warm moments of their own, his in a more literal sense. The very good Lisa Ann Walter plays Bobbie, a very funny character role she wore so well she nearly owned every scene she was in. Just about the best in the film was Stanley Tucci, who did an absolutely brilliant turn as - and I paraphrase - 'Just about the only hetero guy on earth who like parading around dancing in sequins.' He was great, so great in fact, that if he doesn't get a nomination for a Best Supporting Actor award he'd be robbed. He did steal a lot of scenes with no apologies needed. He deserved every one.

The rest of the elements in the film worked very well to paint just the right mood. The sets were realistic and not overly noticeable, leaving the attention to the actors where it belonged. The costuming was great and added some great moments of their own, from Sarandon in a T Shirt to Lopez in an amazing gown near the end to even Gere's tuxedos and natty business suits. But it's the costumes of Tucci and Walter that are the most entertaining. The musical score was great too, just right for the dancing and mood of the film. The sound editing was outstanding, very enjoyable.

We all left the theater with smiles on our faces talking about bringing friends back to see it when it comes out. It is a film well worth the price of admission.
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Passing grade remake
harry_tk_yung4 November 2004
I should start by admitting that it was quite a while ago (New Years Day 1997, to be exact) that I watched the Japanese original, 'Shall We Dansu' (which, incidentally, IS THE ORIGINAL; the Astaire/Rogers 1937 flick, which happens to have the same name, IS NOT). However, although I don't remember every single detail, the essential feelings as well as some of the vivid images still seem fresh in my mind, particularly the glittering performance of Koji Yakusyo and Tamiyo Kusakari.

The Hollywood remake, while not as good as the Japanese original, is at least passing grade, in capturing the essence of the film, 'a man seeking not so much a woman as an answer to his question. Why is she sad? What is she thinking' (Ebert, on 'Shall We Dansu', NOT 'Shall We Dance'), as well as everybody's passion for ballroom dancing.

Richard Gere continues to exude his charm on the female audience. Jennifer Lopez, following Maid in Manhattan, continues to get more comfortable with more matured roles. Oscar best actress (and 5 times nominee) Susan Sarandon is dependable as ever. I'm trying very hard to think of a movie in which I can't find Stanley Tucci and …… darn it, the more I watch the guy, the more I like him!
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7/10
Delightful Entertainment
claudio_carvalho6 September 2005
In Chicago, the workaholic lawyer John Clark (Richard Gere) is feeling bored with his routine life, limited to work and stay at home with his wife Beverly Clark (Susan Sarandon) and his teenager's son and daughter. One night, while traveling home by train, he sees the beautiful face of Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) in the balcony of a dance school, and a couple of days later, he decides to visit the school and take dancing classes every Wednesdays. However, he becomes ashamed to tell his family his "little secret". Meanwhile, Beverly feels the changes in her happier husband, and hires a private eye to investigate whether John is having an affair.

"Shall We Dance?" is a delightful entertainment. It is pleasant to see a nice cast like the sexy Jennifer Lopez, the charming Richard Gere, the surprisingly great dancer Stanley Tucci, the funny Lisa Ann Walter, the wonderful Susan Sarandon and excellent support actors and actresses playing and dancing great music along 106 minutes. After watching this feel-good romance, the viewer will certainly feel lighter and relaxed. My vote is seven.

Title (Brazil): "Dança Comigo?" ("Dance With Me?")

Obs: On October 15th 2005, I saw the original "Shall We Dansu?", which is better and better than this remake.
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10/10
Shall We Dance? Of Course !
mlsbas-12 January 2005
What a match-up of performers! Richard Gere with Susan Sarandon - very strange initially, but very successful. While we typically identify Mr. Gere with younger, more stereotypically "beautiful" actors, his pairing with Ms. Sarandon was most fitting with his role in this film.

As he attempted to connect with himself, the natural entry of Jennifer Lopez into his life was perfect. It was great to see the two characters go from one end of the spectrum to another - hoping to see it go all the way. While initially disappointing (really wanted to see them together), it was a very do-able end result.

Of course, the dancing and music were a great focal point to the story -I loved seeing Mr. Gere and Ms. Lopez doing their "thing." The statistics of the voting on this site for this film were most puzzling. One can only surmise that there were a great many voters who lack a great deal of romance in their souls. Further, as many voters must have lacked an appreciation of great music and dancing.

Clearly, one of the most enjoyable films of 2004.
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Feel Good, Magical Movie
moviefan2003va22 October 2004
This was a decent movie. It will never be as good as the original but it was effective and made you feel good in the end. This is the third Chelsom film I have seen. I didn't see the British movies that brought him the most acclaim but only Town and Country, Serendipity and now this one. The first was clearly a disaster. The latter two should not have worked but they do. Chelsom depends very much on the charisma of his actors to pull off his movies combined with the whimsy he adds with his direction.

With that being said, Gere is very effective in his role. It is his character's likability that sells this movie combined with the colorful supporting actors that show up in Chelsom's movies that provide the final sell for the movie. I predict this movie will spawn an increase in dancing lessons. Like the movie Serendipity, people will leave this movie feeling there is magic in the air and seek out ways to find the magic in their own lives...
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8/10
Wonderful, wonderful film!!
bjarnold44 June 2006
Warning: Spoilers
This turned out to be one of the most pleasantly surprising and entertaining films I had seen in a long time. I did not see this film at the theater but on cable. I imagine like most people, a movie starring Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez gives you thoughts that at some time there's going to be a steamy love scene. However, as the movie unfolded, the relationship between the two characters was something totally unexpected.

To wrap this comment up, this movie touched me in a lot of different ways. It was funny and touching with characters people can relate with.

So if you can, sit down with someone you love, snuggle up close and get ready to enjoy a terrific movie.
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3/10
Chelson's atrocity against the Japanese
bho31415 February 2005
The central tension in the original Japanese Shall We Dance is that the main character is a dork, a nerd, a nebbish that has to overcome social taboos to pursue his passion.

Since neither apply to suave Richard Gere in the socially unfettered USA, Chelsom resorts instead to a commentary on materialism. A nice try, but a pale imitation. Without the central tension, the film is effectively castrated.

The large cast of quirky but likable characters don't quite work and come off as flat and stereotypical, the one exception is the PI's preternaturally wise assistant who gets far too few lines.

The only redeeming point of the adaptation is Susan Sarandon's performance despite the poor writing, and watching Jennifer Lopez dance. Lopez fully embraces the venerable dance of ballroom and truly invigorates it with her raw sensuality. A delight to watch.
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7/10
Lost in translation
jotix1003 January 2006
One of the worst things anyone can do is to try to tackle something that was made better. Hollywood doesn't seem to learn its lesson at all. In trying to "Americanize" the great Japanese film of the same name, the film makers had no idea what they were getting into. In fact, the original film, directed with great flair by Masoyuki Suo, loses all its charm with this reincarnation.

That said, this edition of "Shall we Dance" directed by Peter Chelsom, is not a horrible movie, but the freshness and subtleness of its Japanese model was lost in the translation. While the Japanese version was light and captivating, this adaptation is a bit heavy handed. The editing of the film has a lot to do with out enjoyment, and when the dance sequences in the competition are clumsily handled as it's the case here, one wonders what could the creators have been looking at?

The idea of seeing Richard Gere as the man who is intrigued by the dancing he sees as he passes the dance academy, is not as credible as one would have expected to be. Mr. Gere is versatile enough as he already showed with his role in "Chicago". The idea of his character pulling the wool over his wife Beverly's eyes doesn't come across as too credible. It seems to be a cultural difference that a Japanese wife might be less vocal and accepting a straying husband than in this country by an American wife. That's basically the fatal flaw with the movie, in our humble opinion.

Jennifer Lopez comes across better. As Paulina she shows a professional attitude toward her students, but her chemistry with Richard Gere doesn't create any sparks. Susan Sarandon, as Beverly, the wife who suspects her husband's betrayal, underplays her role with better results than some of her late screen appearances. Stanley Tucci's character is irritating, at best and Lisa Ann Walters does what she can with Bobbie.

Since you probably have seen this version, take a chance and rent the original Japanese film and compare.
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10/10
A delightful film with a perfect cast
babuon30 May 2006
Rarely does one see an American version of a foreign film that is as satisfying as "Shall We Dance", perhaps it's because it's possible to identify with virtually every character in the film at some level. Richard Gere is persuasive as a professional man having a mid-life crisis and charming in his shyness as he decides to learn ballroom dancing; Susan Sarandon is perfect as his first oblivious, then perplexed, wife, and Jennifer Lopez is very fine as the dance instructor at Miss Mitzi's. The tango scene between Gere and Lopez is glorious, and the waltzes are elegant. The film's supporting characters are as talented and noteworthy as the leads. "Shall We Dance" is one of the rare contemporary films that makes one want to see it again -- and to take up ballroom dancing.
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5/10
Enjoyable but Forgettable
christian1236 June 2005
Shall We Dance doesn't break any new ground but those who just want a good time will find it with this film. Richard Gere plays John Clark, a lawyer who feels the need to spice up his stagnating marriage (to Susan Sarandon, no less) by taking ballroom dance lessons from a beautiful and mysterious younger woman (Jennifer Lopez). The plot is okay it just sounds kind of boring. The movie for the most part isn't boring. Its actually quite entertaining. I have never seen the original so I can't compare the two but the original is probably better. I was expecting this film to be horrible as the trailer and early buzz weren't that good but they must have fixed the problems. The cast is pretty good with the best being Susan Sarandon. She does a very good job and she has a fair amount of screen time. Richard Gere does a good job playing John, nothing great but nothing terrible either. Jennifer Lopez's performance isn't very strong and the role didn't really seem to fit her. She gets by with an average performance though. The rest of the supporting cast are very funny and they keep this film moving. Out of all of them, Stanley Tucci was probably the best as Link. His performance of trying to be a young dancer was very funny. There are other interesting characters as well that are in the dance school and are fun to watch them. Peter Chelsom directs and he sure knows how to make this type of film work as he directed the very entertaining Serendipity. The only problem with this film is that its too predictable. Its very by the numbers and doesn't even try to stray away from the familiar path that most romantic comedies take. There was also a lack of chemistry between Lopez and Gere so there scenes together weren't very good or interesting. The running time of 106 minutes goes by fast. The dancing itself was actually pretty good. It wasn't the best but it wasn't terrible either. In the end, this is better then most romantic comedies that have come out in the past year and this film can be enjoyed if your just looking for a good time. Rating 7/10, entertaining but forgettable.
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4/10
Shall We Dance
jboothmillard29 December 2011
Warning: Spoilers
Whenever I hear this title I first assume that it means the Fred Astaire/Ginger Rogers musical, but this one is actually based on the same title as a song featured in The King and I, from director Peter Chelsom (Funny Bones, Serendipity). Basically John Clark (Richard Gere) has a good job as a lawyer, Beverly (Susan Sarandon) as a loving wife and a happy family life, but he seems bored by all of this and fancies something new. He passes it every evening, and sees the same beautiful woman through the window, so he decides one night to enter the place, a dance lessons class, and he signs up hoping to be taught by the woman, Paulina (Jennifer Lopez). He may instead be being taught by the older Miss Mitzi (Anita Gillette), and he is just as clumsy as other dance students, such as Chic (Bobby Cannavale) and Vern (American Pie Presents Band Camp's Omar Benson Miller), and for a while the woman he glanced at doesn't seem interested. After a while John does eventually get to meet Paulina, she only wants to teach dancing not have a date, but they do become good friends, to the point when he has fallen for her. He has been keeping the dance lessons a secret from everyone, all his friends and family, and eventually he has become really enraptured in the dancing as well, he is training for a championship Chicago dance competition. For this John is partnered with dancer Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter), and he is against fellow dance student Link (Stanley Tucci), he obviously has Paulina watching from the audience, but he is unaware that Beverly and his daughter Jenna Clark (Tamara Hope) are there as well. This distracts him at the crucial point during the performance, and in the end he decides to quit, but his life returns to a happy normality, Linkn and Bobbie get together, Paulina gets a new dance partner for a Blackpool competition, and John and Beverly enjoy a dance together themselves. Also starring Stark Sands as Evan Clark, Richard Jenkins as Devine, Nick Cannon as Scott, Sarah Lafleur as Carolyn, Onalee Ames as Diane and Diana Salvatore as Tina. Gere is alright being reasonably charming as trying to escape his drab lifestyle, Sarandon doesn't get much to do at all as his wife, and of course Lopez looks gorgeous thrusting her moves and poking her bum out, even though her mood is low most of the time. If you are a fan of dancing films, and specifically ballroom, then I guess this has a fair amount in it to satisfy the eyes, as for the story in between it is lacking in originality, only the dancing is worth watching, otherwise it's probably only worth seeing the once, a slightly lame romantic comedy drama. Okay!
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10/10
A funny, intelligent, romantic film! A must see!!
michaelann-129 May 2006
When I first saw the commercials, I was intrigued by this film, even though I have never liked Richard Gere. I like Jennifer Lopez's singing, but I have never seen her act before. Also, being a big fan of Flashdance & Thank God it's Friday.

I absolutely loved this movie. It was sweet, romantic, intelligently-written & very enjoyable. Probably one of my top 5 favorite movies of all time . I would recommend it to anyone who likes romantic movies. If you enjoyed Ghost, or Up close & personal, I suspect you'll love this movie , as much as I do. I just wish I could give it an 11!
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1/10
More Hollywood rip off!
fatbob030828 November 2009
Hollywood is so bankrupt and bereft of ideas and original thinking that it seems that the only thing they can do is to copy and imitate… badly. And so it goes with "Shall We Dance". Japans "Shall We Dansu", a charming, delightful, warm, appealing, wonderful movie is poorly imitated by the money grubbing, artless, self-centered Hollywood barbarians. It is so disheartening to see this constant parade of lumbering, badly over-acted, poorly produced, in-your-face, Californicated, tedious, ponderous, undirected, empty, Hollywood rip-offs. Is it the money or the ego that drives these people to violate something wholesome and decent or is it just plain nastiness. If Hollywood wants to continue making senseless empty adolescent wastes of time then that is just fine but please don't insult the rest of us by trashing real art.
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1/10
A bankrupt remake
joelsloane24 February 2011
Warning: Spoilers
SPOILERS (although this lame remake could not possibly be spoiled any further). The first, most basic rule a beginning writer (including screenwriter) is taught is "Show, don't tell"; that is, let the readers, or viewers, realize for themselves what emotions a character may feel, from his actions, not from his words. This wholly unnecessary remake of the wonderful 1996 Japanese original breaks this elementary rule. Indeed, would any viewer have guessed that Richard Gere was so much in love with Susan Sarandon, had he not said so to her (and therefore to the audience) in the manipulative scene in which he appears at her work in formal dress with rose in hand? Certainly nothing from what we see of their relationship before this scene hints at such deep love. (Incidentally, whenever the screenplay departs from the Japanese original, as in the above-mentioned scene, it becomes totally bankrupt and unoriginal: the scene is lifted straight out of "An Officer and a Gentleman," when Gere, in full white uniform, appears at Debra Winger's job to carry her away.) I'm a great fan of Stanley Tucci (who is good in everything, even in this), but I almost lost all respect for him to allow himself to appear in this atrocious movie. How could he not realize that the dialog was so poorly written? I have no doubt that this remake will be very successful, judging from the taste of the American public, which seems to have sunk to new depths. If you absolutely MUST see this movie, I recommend that you first rent the DVD of the Japanese original, and then compare it to this remake to appreciate the truth of my critique.
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1/10
This was one very unfaithful remake that should not have been!
rpcseg11 October 2004
I am so sorry that the Producer, Director, and Writer of this film did not carefully and faithfully follow the l996 Japanese film script SHALL WE DANCE. It is unfortunate that they acknowledge in the closing credits that they adapted their script from the aforementioned one.

Their insensitivity to the l996 script corrupted their story to the extent I was unable to see any redeeming qualities. The apparent belief that they could "update" the script is almost unbelievable to me. Yet I presume that they thought this was necessary to please the American viewers as well as have it be acceptable to the global community of viewers.

I do hope that this film will not be popular. I hope that some viewers will pick up that this is an attempted remake and then see the l996 Japanese version.

One final note, the Japanese script could have been completely used for an American film that would have conveyed the very meaningful and rich story that viewers would have throughly appreciated.
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2/10
A cheap American ripoff!
bruceatitus31 March 2017
This version of "Shall We Dance?" is a cheap American ripoff of a vastly better Japanese movie with the same title. The whole premise of the movie makes no sense when placed in America, since we don't have the same cultural norms.

The Japanese version is one of my favorite films. It has far more heart and much better character development than the American version. It's also much funnier. Do yourself a HUGE favor and watch the Japanese version instead!
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Shall We Dance
xxitalianxx9 May 2006
After watching the movie Shall We Dance, I could say its fair enough to compare it to Billy Elliot in the sense that John and Billy were both afraid to tell people they were taking dance lessons. This movie was considered to be a romantic comedy where a bored, overworked Estate Lawyer, upon first sight of a beautiful instructor, signs up for ballroom dancing lessons.

The main character John Clark seems to be having a great relationship with his wife. But he feels like he can not tell his wife about him taking lessons. The reasoning behind this is unclear, but it seems like he will cheat on his wife with the dance instructor. Of course after watching the movie you see he doesn't commit such an act. In the scene where he travels home everyday on the train and passes the dance studio is very affective. We are uncertain if he will follow through and end up taking the lessons.

When John finally starts dance lessons he really isn't that great. He hides it from everyone at home and work. His family starts to see strange behaviors in him, such as peeking in on him in his room and he is dancing around by himself. They are curious to know what he has been up to; his wife goes on and hires a private investigator to see if he is cheating on her. He then follows John and sees he goes to dance classes.

The best scene in the movie is when John has to perform in the dance competition. He realizes he is really good at something and debates sharing it with his family. When his wife and daughter found out, they went to his dance competition. He messed up when he saw them and his daughter yelled "yeah dad." His family then walked out on him and his performance. From that moment he decided he didn't want to dance anymore. His wife wouldn't let him do that because she saw how good he was!
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3/10
Comparison to "Shall We Dansu, " J-Lo Acting, and Few Comments on Dancing
sinanonline3 January 2005
I have seen the 1997 Japanese movie "Shall We Dansu?" only partially. The movie was successful in presenting the audience an insight about the Japanese culture, and the contrast created by the traditional Japanese family and societal values and the spirit of the Latin and Ballroom dancing.

This movie does not make sense as a remake. The cultural contrast so delicately pointed out in "Shall We Dansu?" (1997) ceases to exist in the 2004 movie. The most important message of the 1997 movie is related to the Japanese culture. This message disappears when the setting is changed to USA.

To illustrate, let's take the example of Gere being ashamed for dancing: There is no cultural reason why Gere (John Clark) would be ashamed of his wife (played by Sarandon) because of his dancing: What aspect of American culture shuns ballroom dancing? Why does he not just ask Sarandon to join him? The reason stated by Gere that he is ashamed to want more happiness in his life is absurd. There is no concept such as "shunning pursuit of happiness" in American culture, and as audience, we are presented no reason why Gere should be ashamed of this.

Another theme in the movie that does not fit to the American culture is the reaction of Lopez to Gere when she thinks that he is hitting on her: Kusukari's (Mai Kishikawa, counterpart of J-Lo in 1997 version) reaction to Yakusho (Shohei Sugiyama, counterpart of Gere) "This may sound rude, but I hope you don't join the class with me as your goal" is one of the peaks in the movie where the audience is presented with the dilemma Kusukari faces as she is torn between her position as dance instructor and her cultural disposition towards Yakusho. Her reaction is soft and measured, and takes care not to offend Sugiyama. Paulina's (played by Lopez in the 2004 version) reaction is extravagant: She risks injuring a stranger's feelings to the extend that he may give up dancing, and also risks losing a potential student to an already troubled dance studio. Although her cultural disposition to the issue is much "liberal" than her Japanese counterpart, her reaction is much more extreme and thus unrealistic.

Comments on the dancing technique: The actors could not dance. Period. This is understandable for Gere and the other students. It is unacceptable that supposedly professional dancers, played by Walter, (Bobbie) Gillette (Miss Mitzi) perform such unaesthetic wriggling on the dance floor.

Final note on Lopez: It is unfair to present her acting as "bad." She gave the character everything that the character needs. None of the characters in the movie required too much depth. Her acting is not comparable to a professional actress such as Sarandon, however it is more than sufficient for such a shallow and unrealistic character. The fact that the character is shallow and unrealistic is the fault of the director and 2004 screenplay writer, not the actress.

In addition, Lopez's dancing technique was significantly better than the rest of the supposedly professional dancers, contributing much to realism, or better stated, contributing to decrease the unrealism of the movie. Her dancer's training and background, including the fact that she actually took night dance classes when working in a law firm, makes her a natural fit to this role. Her short performance of Paso Doble set in the darkened dance studio was very well performed.
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Limiting Tracks
tedg20 October 2004
Warning: Spoilers
Spoilers herein.

As films unfold while we watch them, there's a curious balance between the world of the film and the world of the viewer. Usually the world of the film bulges into our world, the 'real' world. But sometimes it is the other way around. I haven't yet seen the original, but I understand it exploits this notion, the notion of the viewer simply stepping off the fixed track of reality into a richer world of flowing expression.

It leverages the by now common device of dancing and trains, in addition to using the train as a metaphor for drudgery and routine. We know that the already mythical Baz Luhrmann went to great lengths to insert a train in 'Strictly Ballroom.' And we have the cinematic ally unique train sequence in 'Dancer in the Dark.'

I maintain that today, trains exist more in the cinematic world than the real world, at least for Americans, and one reason this remake fails is the lack of understanding how to employ its nature in the service of the story. It would have failed even if the disaster of Lopez had been rectified, and the many translations from Japanese repression to that of privileged lawyers was somehow made.

If you can get past the fact that this is as lifeless a remake as 'Tortilla Soup' (and for the same reasons), and overlook Lopez this script has one of the most interesting concepts in film marriage: marriage is about having a "witness" to your life. The original build this into their concept, the shifting of that line between who sees what to the stretch of the film seeing the viewer.

There's a piece of trivia here. Of all the worlds of dance, ballroom dancing - especially competitive dancing of the type that schools promote - is the least emotive, the most proscribed and predictable, even fluidly mechanical. Usually the ballroom dancing movie is about transcending those limits. Here, it is the opposite: Lopez's speech (itself mechanical) about dance making you truly alive is a bit ironic if you understand what the competition is all about.

Bette Midler can relax now. She's become a sort of female Elvis with a recognizable stereotype for actresses to merely copy.

Ted's Evaluation -- 1 of 3: You can find something better to do with this part of your life.
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10/10
Best Romantic Comedy In Years
ebender-16 October 2004
I absolutely loved this movie and liked it better than the original. I enjoyed the fact that the movie showed that even though you may have a so called perfect life there could still be something missing which I think most of us feel at one time or another. I found this movie to be extremely funny and touching at the same time.

This movie is more of a telling of peoples lives and emotions than a story of dance. The dance helps them to bring out their inner selves. I liked the fact that John Clark (Richard Gere) reflected back on the people that had wills done in his office and that the happier ones were the ones who took that extra step to get as much out of life as they could possibly do before it was too late.

This is a story about a man who does take that extra step and follows his emotions. He sees a beautiful girl in a window three times from the train each night coming home from work and one night he gets off that train in hopes of meeting this girl who works in a dance studio. He ends up signing for dance lessons hoping to be able to dance with her and instead finds happiness in dance.

The movie does an excellent job showing how John Clark (Richard Gere) and the others who are inept and shy and a little ashamed at the beginning become confident in themselves. The scenes in the dance studio are extremely funny. The movie goes on to tell how his wife Beverely (Susan Sarandon) thinks he is having an affair and hires a private detective.

This movie shows how each of their lives have been affected by dance. The acting in this movie is superb. Richard Gere does an unbelievable job of dancing, he is terrific. His acting is second to none and this is the best romantic comedy I've ever seen him in. This is by far the best movie I've ever seen Jennifer Lopez in, she actually does a good job. Susan Sarandon was great and would love to see her and Richard Gere do more movies together. The rest of the supporting cast did an excellent job in their roles.

I went to the pre showing of this movie and the theatre was packed and some people had to turn away because there were no more seats available but they did say they would be back to see the movie when it opened up. There was a lot of clapping and laughter during this movie and everyone I spoke to said they loved it, some even said they would be coming back to see it again, as will I.

This was perfectly casted movie and you won't be sorry if you go and see it.

This is a feel good inside movie, A MUST SEE.
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4/10
Obnoxious, unfunny tripe
moonspinner5515 January 2007
Americanization of the hit 1996 movie from Japan features Richard Gere as a Chicago lawyer (supposedly overworked, yet we never see him break a sweat) who takes dance lessons at night without telling his wife--she gets suspicious and hires a private detective. Brightly-painted balderdash, wasting Susan Sarandon as the spouse and turning all the supporting characters into cartoony caricatures (often at the expense of the poor actors). The script, flabby and mean-spirited, features one witless meet-cute after another. Jennifer Lopez is lost in the vacuous role of a substitute dance teacher--always standing by a window, bathed in red light--who trades gibberish lines with Richard Gere that sound as if the screenwriter neither understands English nor Japanese! This is one wasted opportunity, deluding Gere's natural charisma while giving the term 'star vehicle' a bad name. *1/2 from ****
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2/10
Shall we go?
theElion10 February 2005
First off, I kinda like Richard Gere, even if he hasn't done that great films he has a kinda of charm, that truly lives in him.

But this, I say, I never walked of a cinema, but Jesus, I sure as hell where just ready to go.

First its this romantic comedy with, "oops, did I touch you there" then it turn all emotional with a kinda threesome thats not really happening.

This crap waste my time and money, I truly don't understand why that such films as this still exist today.

Why? Oh, dear God why?
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2/10
Better that shoving bamboo shoots under my fingernails.
pollhouse8 February 2005
It was that time again for me to sit down and watch another chick film with my wife. She got the popcorn and I got the bamboo shoots for my fingernails. The movie was better than I expected, however. It was about this bored guy who was happily married with two teenage children. Everyday he went to the same job where he was a lawyer at a small firm and every evening he rode the same commuter train home. He loved his wife and children but was asking himself that eternal question that haunts all of us from time to time, is this all there is? Is there anything more? Until one night on his way home he looked through the train window and noticed a strikingly beautiful women looking out the window of a dance studio. Intrigued he began to look for her every night on his way home and low and behold she was there every night. Until one night he decided to get off the train in attempt to meet this woman. He signed up for dance lessons figuring that she would be his instructor unfortunately his instructor turned out to be the owner of the studio, and old bag who needed a little nip from her flask now and then to make it through another session. Until one night his opportunity came when the old lady was gone and Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) taught his lesson for that night. He seized the opportunity when upon walking her out of the studio he asker her out for dinner for which she harshly rejected him.

After the rejection he soon discovered that it was the dancing that was filling the void in his life and not so much the fascination he had for Paulina.

Richard Gere was good in his role as John Clark. From the movies "The Cotton Club" and "Chicago" we all know Gere's talent as a musician and a dancer. (Both "The Cotton Club" and "Chicago" were far superior films; "Shall We Dance" is not in the same league. Gere's performances in those pictures were standouts compared the movie I am reviewing here. If you have not seen either one of those films get out and rent them. If you liked Richard Gere in "Shall We Dance" you will love him in "The Cotton Club" and "Chicago." The surprise for me in this movie was the performance of Jennifer Lopez. After being lamb basted by the late night talk shows for her performance in "Gigli" and "Maid In Manhattan" she did redeem herself a little here. Her talents as a dancer is undeniable and it was show cased beautifully here. She is without a doubt a very beautiful woman. I think her creditability suffers from her, self-inflicted off screen troubles, the on and off again marriages and romances, the see through dresses etc. We get a lot of J-Lo over kill from the media as well, if she changes brands of toilet paper Diane Sawyer has a 10 minute piece on "Good Morning America" the next day.

Susan Sarandon is always solid and has that ability to make even a bad film mediocre. Stanley Tucci is good in everything I have seen him in and he has been in a lot of movies and did a good job here as well except that his role was a week one. His Character was responsible for the comedy relief unfortunately it was not funny. Embarrassing may be a better word. The wig and fake wash off suntan just did not work.

All in all I have to give "Shall We Dance" two bamboo shoots.
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