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Dance with me REVIEW

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Introduction

Dance with me REVIEW Despite its many flaws, it's difficult not to like Randa Haines' latest film, the effervescent Dance with Me. As is true of most "performance" movies, the central attraction isn't the characters or the narrative. Instead, it's the look, the feel, and, most importantly, the music. Dance with Me isn't intended to be a deeply introspective look at the struggles of a man and woman to overcome their individual emotional troubles and find each other. Instead, it uses these familiar, lightweight plot elements as a foundation for the series of colorful, energetic dance sequences that represent the real reason to see this movie. The stars of the film are Vanessa L. Williams and Chayanne. Williams, the former Miss America- turned singer-turned actress, plays Ruby, a by-the-book professional dancer who's looking to win a World Latin Dancing Championship before she hangs up her shoes and costumes. ...read more.

Middle

What both are superlative at, however, is the dancing, and, since Dance with Me is more about what happens on the floor than off of it, that makes them both nearly perfect for their respective roles. There are no dance doubles necessary. Williams and Chayanne have all the right moves, allowing them to more than hold their own, even when surrounded by dozens of top-level professionals. It goes without saying that Ruby and Rafael fall in love. It's not an unpleasant romance, but, while the two stars strike a few sparks (as in the bathroom scene where Rafael is dressed only in a towel), theirs isn't a smoldering, hard-to-forget coupling. Both Williams and Chayanne are hot enough on their own, however, that the lack of palpable chemistry doesn't do irreparable harm. Nevertheless, anyone expecting to be swept away on the currents of a soaring love story may be a little disappointed. ...read more.

Conclusion

The characters aren't well-developed and the drama, such as it is, is merely adequate. Fortunately, when it comes to choreography, Haines is aware of what the audience wants, and obliges with some breathtaking moments. The energy level is consistently high, and, even when we're forced to endure a painfully trite moment with John and Rafael bonding at the end of a fishing pier, we know that something delightful is just around the corner. When I left Dance with Me, I was smiling. As far as feel-good movies go, this one works in spite of a bloated running length (over two hours) and a plot that could use an injection of originality. The dance sequences, which comprise roughly half of the screen time, have it all -- great music, wonderful choreography, and attractive participants -- and this makes up for many of the film's deficiencies. During the Dog Days of August, when good movies are few and far between, Dance with Me offers the opportunity for uncomplicated entertainment. ...read more.

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