Take the Lead

C+
Take the Lead
Rated PG-13; Directed by Liz Friedlander; Starring Antonio Banderas, Alfre Woodard, Rob Brown, Yaya DaCosta

I love ballroom dance. Once upon a time I could waltz, rhumba, foxtrot, and swing for hours. So, when a movie opens that showcases ballroom dance, I’m there. The sad thing is, not many movies can bring the joy of ballroom dance to the screen. “Take the Lead,” starring Antonio Banderas joins the so-so school of dance films. Not only that, the script is predictable and the direction flat. Still, there are scenes of people waltzing, tangoing, and getting jiggy with it (did I just show what an old fart I am?).

Antonio Banderas stars as Pierre Dulaine, a dance instructor who finds that the local schools need a little help with the “loser” students in detention. He starts a dance program for these students, who of course start out hating the idea, but they begin to appreciate the dancing, which eventually leads to the predictable dance contest with all the kids finding confidence and a strong sense of themselves. Oops, did I give the plot away?

With a weak script that doesn’t offer anything new, it means the dancing better be pretty fancy. Yes, some dance scenes are wonderful, especially the tango scene where the kids first discover the excitement of ballroom dance. Other dance scenes are nothing to get excited about. The cast is decent and some can dance. Antonio Banderas is fine in an unchallenging role.

If you can stand some plodding plotting mixed with fun dancing, capped off with corny scenes, “Take the Lead” may be your cup of tea. But don’t count on wanting to get jiggy with it.

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