Four left feet

“Shall We Dance” makes all the right moves

Adrienne Baker

Perfect to swoon to with a quart of ice cream, fuzzy slippers and a rainy day, “Shall We Dance” is a lighthearted and sweet movie. There are no emotionally wrenching scenes that would require an ample supply of tissues, only a simple story about people that makes you feel good.

This remake of Masayuki Suo’s 1996 film stars John Clark (Richard Gere) as a Chicago accountant with a perfectly average life. On his way home from work, he catches a glimpse of Paulina’s (Jennifer Lopez) face in a dance studio. Intrigued by her beauty and mystique, Clark finds himself haphazardly signed up for ballroom dancing classes and drawn in to a world of dance that replenishes his passion for life.

“What would make a man who’s done the same thing for the last 20 years do something completely out of character, out of the blue?” Beverly Clark (Susan Sarandon), John Clark’s wife, asks upon discovering her husband’s secret escapades.

“Shall We Dance” is a movie that, while flirting with the idea of infidelity in marriage, transforms into a story about being unfaithful to one’s self. It is about needing to find the things in life that make you shiver with excitement.

The cast is made up of more than the advertised and middle age-crowd drawing Gere, Sarandon and Lopez. The cast is diverse with outstanding performances by Stanley Tucci, who goes to outrageous lengths to keep his ballroom dance passion a secret; ballroom dancer Lisa Ann Walter, an eccentric woman who lives for the thrill of dancing; and Nick Cannon, in the surprising role of the literature-quoting investigator’s assistant.

In addition, out-of-the-blue cameos by Ja Rule and Mya pick “Shall We Dance” up out of its late middle-age demographic and make it slightly more accessible to a younger crowd looking for familiar faces.

If you do not already believe in the spirit of dance, this movie will have you convinced and tapping your toes for the length of the film, if not waltzing out of the theater and into a dance studio.

“Shall We Dance?”
Directed by: Peter Chelsom
Starring: Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez and Susan Sarandon.
Rated: PG-13
Showing at: area theaters