Shall We Dance [1937]

Something got lost in translation from 1996's critically acclaimed Japanese comedy, but the American remake of Shall We Dance? is not without charms of its own. In being transplanted from Tokyo to Chicago, the original version's subtle humor is shaken out of its cultural context, but this is an otherwise faithful adaptation in which a weary lawyer (Richard Gere) battles his mid-life crisis with ballroom dancing lessons, while his wife (Susan Sarandon) hires a private detective to see if he's cheating. Those expecting a Jennifer Lopez showcase will be disappointed; her role as the melancholy dance instructor keeps the beautifully lovelorn J-Lo on the sidelines, while a cast of standard-issue supporting characters (especially Stanley Tucci's clandestine faux-Latin dance lover) provide a generous dose of Hollywood-ized comic relief. All of this gives Shall We Dance? a polished sheen of mainstream entertainment that many viewers---and especially ballroom dancers--will find delightfully irresistible. --Jeff Shannon

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