"Making a Marriage Work"
What You Need To Know:
SHALL WE DANCE? moves at a brisk pace that never grows dull or muddled. It is surprisingly light and entertaining. There is some very light sexual discussion, infrequent foul language, and one “f” word. Unfortunately, there is a brief moment of politicizing in the end, when one of the peripheral characters is revealed to be homosexual, but it is easy to ignore. Gere’s character acts a little dubiously, but he sheds light on his behavior at the end. SHALL WE DANCE? is funny, mostly moral fun for married couples.
(BB, Ho, LL, A, M) Strong moral worldview that extols marriage, but with an implicit endorsement of homosexual marriage at the end; 11 mostly light obscenities (but one “f” word) and five profanities; some mildly provocative dancing and light sexual discussion; alcohol; and, married man flirts with woman, wife hires a private detective and lying.
GENRE: Romantic Comedy
SHALL WE DANCE? is a successful American remake of the 1997 Japanese movie. Richard Gere is John Clark, an estate lawyer who feels weighed down by the predictability of his life. He and his wife, played by Susan Sarandon, have been married for decades and enjoy their marriage. Wistfulness and the beauty of a dance instructor, Jennifer Lopez, leads him to begin ballroom dancing lessons. In learning to dance, Gere’s character learns to define himself, his life and his family.
Although he appears restless and takes steps toward pursuing his dance instructor, Clark tells his wife that she is the prize of his life for whom he is most grateful. She confides in the private detective she hired that entering into a marriage is “promising to care about everything,” and that that attention and devotion is what makes her life special. This is definitely a pro-marriage movie that should leave people hopeful about the prospect of long-term marriages.
Otherwise, SHALL WE DANCE? moves at a pleasantly brisk pace that never grows dull or muddled until the end. It is surprisingly light and entertaining. Jokes that are predictable – the nervous lawyer clumsily learning to dance – work pretty well. Richard Gere is appealing, and even Jennifer Lopez seems genuine at the movie’s end.
There is some very light sexual discussion, but it is brief. There is infrequent language but one “f” word. Unfortunately, there is a brief moment of politicizing in the end, when one of the peripheral characters is revealed to be homosexual. This revelation is unnecessary and has nothing to do with the plot or the movie’s resolution, so it is briefly annoying.
SHALL WE DANCE? isn’t perfect, but it makes for a nice time at the theater. Gere’s character acts a little dubiously, but he sheds light on his behavior at the end. Better made than other entries in the middle-aged romantic comedy genre, it’s funny, light, mostly harmless fun, and it also comes bearing some positive moral meat on its bones.