~ Dance with Me ~

Dance with Me

- By Bill Miller -

Dance with Me is a romantic dance-musical, a story better suited for Broadway rather than the big-screen.  The charming cast, lively music and hot dance numbers would be highly successful if performed live in downtown New York.  However, first time screenwriter Daryl Matthews sold the script to Hollywood and it now appears in movie theaters everywhere.  In movie genre, Dance with Me doesn't fare as well -- offering fluff instead of a substantiated plot and the exciting escapades and romantic drama that mainstream audiences crave.

It's not appropriate for me to give a personal rating, for I am not the target audience.  Carrying a PG rating, Dance with Me aims to please ladies smitten with light-hearted love (from that perspective, I give it two and a half stars).  Other moviegoers will welcome this as a refreshing break from emotionally engrossing films like Armageddon and Saving Private Ryan.

Of course the inevitable happens in this predictable and plain plot, depriving viewers of any and all dramatic tension.  Beautiful and graceful, former Miss America Vanessa Williams turns in a solid and believable performance as a dance instructor.  The camera is also fond of Chayanne's good looks and charisma.  Unfortunately, the co-stars have little chemistry together, which results in a distinct lack of passion.

John Burnett (Kris Kristofferson) has decided to help a young man from Cuba, Rafael Infante (Chayanne, a Latino star making his American debut), by bringing him to America and offering him a job.  Burnett was partial to Rafael's late mother and hires him as a handyman for his dance studio.  Handsome and charming, Rafael instantly wins the affection of all -- all but professional ballroom dancer/instructor Ruby Sinclair (Vanessa Williams). Ruby is focused on an upcoming competition in Las Vegas and doesn't have time for any distractions, certainly not love.  

Can you guess what happens next?

Two and a half stars.

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