Shall We Dance? (2004) Review
I had such an obsession with this film when it first came out and it developed having a Richard Gere obsession as well. Watching this for what could possibly be the millionth time last night and I still love it, even though its not one of the best films ever made. It has something special in it for me, I guess it was just the passion and confusing John Clark (Richard Gere) had when he decided to start dancing. The fact that Beverly his wife is played by Susan Sarandon who I just totally adore, and that it contains a Richard Gere Moment . . . along with some very funny moments and lines. Lets just say I find it a very easy film to just enjoy and get lost in with not much thinking required at all. Sometimes you just need that release and this is definitely a film that can give you that.
John Clark is pretty set in his ways but finds himself bored with his life he spots Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) standing at a window of a dance studio as he goes past on the train. One night he ends up going inside and is persuaded to sign up for ballroom dance classes. Beverly however after a few weeks starts to think something is up and hires a private investigator (Richard Jenkins) to find out if John was having an affair, which is wasn’t he was just dancing. Beverly went to the competition he was in but it did not go well when John spotted his wife and daughter and ended up causing a crash on the dance floor. But then this leads to my favorite “Richard Gere Moment” involving Richard in a tux, with a red rose and an escalator which basically equals heaven and tears.
My favorite quote has to come from Beverly when she is talking to the private invesigator about marriage and being with someone. “We need a witness to our lives. There’s a billion people on the planet… I mean, what does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you’re promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things… all of it, all of the time, every day. You’re saying ‘Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness’.” Every time I see this part of the film it kinda brings a lump in my throat as I just find it so heartfelt and that it could possibly be a very true viewing of how life goes.
Link (Stanley Tucci) and Bobbie (Lisa Ann Walter) steal a lot of the scenes as they are both just so hilarious. With Link being a dancer and not gay, hiding the fact he loves dancing at work and pretending his a big American Football fan. Which makes him wear a wig while dancing so people do not realise it is him, also he puts on a lot of fake tan, all of these parts being very amusing. Bobbie is again very funny, always telling the guys to “stop looking at my ass” and being very upfront and forward with them when she first meets them.
The dancing, for the lessons , the hot dancing scene between John and Paulina, the competition and Paulina dancing by herself were all very good in my opinion. Showing the differences of practisingto then going to actually dance where lots of people are to then competiting. I do love the scene where John and Miss Mitzi dance to “Shall we dance” like in “The King and I”. I just found this to be a very good link between the song, dancing and title of the film.
I left Jennifer Lopez until very last to talk about as I am still not sure if I actually like her or not in this film. As her character Paulina kinda annoys me in her attitude and thinking John was just taking dance lessons to try to get to know her or start something with her. Thinking that the whole world revolved around her. I know its wrong to be more calling Jennifer Lopez but I just felt that she did not really put much into the character, she just did not seem very real which was a bit disappointing.
On the whole I really love this film and could watch it over and over (as I have done in the past). It doesn’t really get old and the same parts make me smile, laugh and even fill up with tears. This film really made me love Richard Gere a lot. He really is just fantastic and has the power of a look and of course his fantastic moments he has at the end of films.