Subject: I have found a DVD that I think you would enjoy
|Love N' Dancing |
Actors: Gregory Harrison, Catherine Stewart, Betty White, Billy Zane, Amy Smart
Director: Robert Iscove
When soon to be married Jessica, (Amy Smart) meets champion West Coast Swing dancer Jake, sparks fly but their chemistry is threatened by her impending marriage and his bitter former dance partner. As they decide to compet... more »
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Chris Pandolfi | Los Angeles, CA | 05/15/2009
(2 out of 5 stars)
"The only conceivable reason "Love N' Dancing" was made was to capitalize on the success of shows like "Dancing with the Stars." Had the whole dancing subplot not been a part of the equation, this movie would have absolutely nothing to fall back on. This is one of the weakest romantic comedies I've seen in a long time, a simple-minded and predictable story about characters with no depth to them. It's in fact so cliché that, with just a few more jokes, it could have been a Jason Friedberg and Aaron Seltzer parody. Alas, it was written by its star, Tom Malloy, who drew from his own experiences dancing in West Coast Swing competitions. This in itself is not a bad thing--I think we all know that writers tend to rely on life for material. But when you can't even dramatically embellish a screenplay, not even for the sake of pure entertainment, something has gone wrong.
Taking place in Philadelphia, "Love N' Dancing" tells the story of Jake Mitchell (Malloy), a talented dance instructor who was once an undefeated champion in the field of West Coast Swing. He's been deaf since he was a teenager, but he gets by with hearing aids and lip-reading. When he's on the dance floor, however, he turns his aids off, having gotten used to moving his body to rhythmic vibrations only. After giving a motivational speech to a group of middle-school kids (which, incidentally, is something else Malloy is known for), he suddenly demonstrates his skills as a dancer. He then meets one of the teachers, Jessica Donovan (Amy Smart). Jessica likes his moves and asks if she and her fiancé can get lessons in time for their wedding. Jake is more than happy to oblige.
Later on, at the end of the class period, one student comes up to Jessica and asks her why she's unhappy. Forget about the fact that, so far as I know, students would never ask their teachers something so personal--let's just focus on the answer to that question, which comes in the form of obvious personality flaws. Jessica's fiancé, Kent Krandel (Billy Zane), isn't much for romance; aside from enjoying "Robot Chicken" more than Jessica's company while lying in bed, he's much more into taking to business associates on his Bluetooth headset, trying to negotiate deals and secure positions.
Worst of all, he doesn't like to dance. She, on the other hand, has loved dancing pretty much her whole life. On the day of their first lesson, Kent gets called away, so Jessica decides to carry on by herself. It seems she will now be spending a lot more time with Jake.
I think you can see where this is going. But let's not make this just about the budding romance--let's also make this about the things that have held everyone back. Aside from Jessica's pre-marital troubles, she's now come to the point where dancing is her only passion. As for Jake, he wants to compete in this year's U.S. Open and get back in the game, but he's afraid he's now too old. There's also the fact that, by switching off his hearing aid when dancing, he's essentially not listening to his partner. Topping everything off is an unresolved relationship with his ex-dance partner, Corinne Kennedy (Nicola Royston), who was once his fiancée. Will Jake listen to her hurtful words about not being good enough to compete once again? Will he ever stop using his disability as a crutch and just learn to enjoy life once again?
If the very description of this plot isn't making you laugh, you're out of luck, because God knows it's the only indication that this film has a sense of humor. The intentionally funny moments are anything but, and this definitely includes a cameo by Betty White as an elderly woman in a bar; the possibility of sleeping with someone that very night seems likely. Caroline Rhea and Rachel Dratch have small parts as well, although they serve no real purpose other than to be foils for other characters. And then there's Billy Zane's character--for someone so blatantly wrong for Amy Smart's character, it's strange how little we're able to care. All we can focus on are his foolish one-liners and embarrassing gestures, making him more of a comedic punching bag than a cinematic adversary.
Herein lies the biggest failure of this film: Every character is so broadly drawn that they're nothing more than walking, talking pieces of cardboard. Jake is the handsome charmer, Jessica is the lovely dreamer, and both are holding themselves back from achieving greatness. They must inevitably do some soul searching before the climactic final scene, which sees them both in attendance at the 2008 U.S. Open West Coast Swing competition. This may, in fact, be the film's saving grace; the well-choreographed dance sequences are a sight to behold. The few that are shown so thoroughly upstage the plot that I wish more had been included. True, the film would still lack substance, but at least I'd have something cool to look at. If you want spectacle and entertainment without that pesky romantic comedy stuff, skip "Love N' Dancing" and watch an episode of "Dancing with the Stars.""
Great wc swing movie
stephanie clearwater | spokane, WA | 03/22/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)
"i enjoyed watching the actors on the screen and the scenes of real-life dancers in the competition. good story and characters. movie came quickly and in good shape."