It’s nice to see Hollywood choosing to remake something other than Asian horror movies. In the case of Shall We Dance?, this remake of the Japanese romantic comedy carries mixed performances and eye-roll-worthy melodrama. While good enough for a few laughs, Shall We Dance? is instantly forgettable.
Susan Sarandon is the scene stealer here with a somewhat limited role, landing some hilarious facial expressions as she beings to wonder if her husband, played by Richard Gere, is having an affair. Is he? No, of course not. He’s doing what all guys do these days. Taking secret ballroom dancing lessons.
In doing so, we’re introduced to a clichéd roster of characters inserted for mild comedic value. Jennifer Lopez is terrible here, acting on the level of a soap opera in multiple overacted scenes. Her character is overly emotional and annoying, and the supposed relationship between her and Gere never actually goes anywhere. Screen time between them works for its awkwardness to the story and little else.
Extravagant dance numbers go on for extended period of time without any story development. The training sequences offer some fun clumsiness, and for anyone interested in ballroom dancing, maybe the competition will offer some enjoyment. From a film standpoint, they offer little relevant information.
The ending is predictable and loaded with forced drama that’s sure to send sensitive people into a crying frenzy. Everyone else will sit back and laugh as the lead couple reunite in the middle of a department store while onlookers are taken away by the supposed emotion in the scene. It may be inoffensive, but it’s not particularly entertaining.
Carrying an over-processed look, the Blu-ray premiere of the film is sub-standard. The print varies in its sharpness, and at best can carry a clean, fine look. Edge enhancement is visible on occasion, and flesh tones appear far too red. Detail remains relatively flat throughout. This is only a step above the standard DVD.
When needed, the audio performs admirably. The echo of the music inside the dance studio is nicely captured in all speakers. The crowd at the final competition fills out the sound field. Bass is equally strong when called for.
Extras provide a decent glimpse behind the scenes. A commentary from director Peter Chelsom is fine, as are his thoughts on the 17 minutes of deleted scenes. Behind the Scenes of Shall We Dance? has a slight promo feel to it, though it does discuss the original Japanese version with clips.
Beginner’s Ballroom is a six and a half minute featurette on the choreography. Music of Shall We Dance? explains itself and runs for slightly over three minutes. A music video is the final extra on the disc.