Dir: Emile Ardolino, 1987
The film that, truly, launched Patrick Swayze’s career and one of the most beloved “chick flicks” ever to grace a cinema screen.
Unfortunately, time hasn’t been kind to this and what was once fresh and original, is now stale and cheesy.
In the summertime of the 1963, Dr. Houseman (Jerry Orbach) takes his wife and two daughters to Kellerman’s, a resort.
While there, the youngest daughter, Frances/”Baby” (Jennifer Grey), becomes involved in the dancing scene and falls for the instructor, Johnny Castle (Patrick Swayze).
In all honesty, it’s a very poor film. Eleanor Bernstein’s script is hammy and Ardolino can’t direct for shite, but there’s still something enjoyable about it all.
The soundtrack is comprised of old fifties and sixties songs which are still immensely catchy and add a real element of entertainment.
Swayze and Grey have no chemistry, which is hardly surprising as their fragile working relationship is well documented. It goes as far back as 1984’s Red Dawn. But, for a film like this, that chemistry is vital to the success of the story and the film as a whole. Throughout the movie, there is a level of disbelief at the romantic attachment, supposedly shared by the two leads.
Everything about Dirty Dancing is wrong. The characterisation is atrocious. Johnny comes across as a whiny sod, with an incredibly unpleasant personality and Baby is a pampered annoying brat. As for her sister, Lisa…my god! That singing voice. You could cut glass with it. Utterly dreadful.
But, despite all this (or, maybe even, because of it), Dirty Dancing remains a rather fun film. There is just something about it all that makes it enjoyable.
In that respect, it’s like Grease; a film that shouldn’t work but does.
Seeing it in through contemporary lenses, there’s more corn than in an Amish field but it’s still better than Footloose or Flashdance.
An okay film but definitely one for the girls.