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Shall We Dance?

(2004) * 1/2 Pg-13
106 min. Miramax Films. Director: Peter Chelsom. Cast: Richard Gere, Jennifer Lopez, Lisa Ann Walter, Stanley Tucci, Susan Sarandon.

Miramax's remake of their 1996 Japanese import Shall We Dance is ostensibly about romance and magic but actually about maximum exploitation of the property, done up in all the Hollywood trimmings. Richard Gere plays the leading man, a nice-guy insurance clerk drawn into a dance studio by the exotic tableau of sad Jennifer Lopez staring out of a lofty window.

The two play out a schmaltzy platonic romance in which they tell each other what they need to hear before returning happily to their lives. Before the shiny happy closing montage, though, Gere's wife, played by Susan Sarandon must hire a P.I. to find out why her husband is disappearing in the evening hours (Richard Jenkins and Nick Cannon as the private dicks earn some of the film's few laughs). Meanwhile, Gere cuts rugs alongside an ensemble of male misfits including Stanley Tucci, Bobby Cannavale, and Omar Benson Miller. Chelsom manages a few cute-as-a-button bits, but mostly the movie is a schmaltzy slog.

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