Shall We Dance? (1997)

A bit of a long sit.  This warm and fuzzy feel-gooder from Japan, 
about a 42 year-old Tokyo accountant (Koji Yakusho) who reawakens 
to life through secretive ballroom lessons, runs about, oh, twenty 
minutes too long.  Sure, everyone clapped at the end, but I *do* 
recall hearing more than a few people squirming during the pro-
tracted finale.  (At the Rialto, the to-be-replaced squeaky seats 
are far more telling than any after-show comments in the lobby.)  
Even with yawns, a reduced blood flow below the equator, and the 
ever-present threat of a knocked-over root beer bottle, I enjoyed 
reliving the life-cycle of the partner dancer:  the hesitant at-
traction to the sport, often the result of a crush on a better dan-
cer; those painfully awkward initial lessons; mixing and mingling 
with other dancers; the get-serious point of no return; the months 
of practice for competition or exhibition; the cruel reality and 
partner incompatibility; and, of course, the alienation and sub-
sequent reclamation of a non-dancing spouse.  (To try the latter, 
just hang out at the Longbranch for a few months.  Then, tell your 
sweetie.)  If you've never waltzed, rumbaed, or quick-stepped, this 
may be the movie that lands you on the dance floor.  One two three, 
one two three...  (Rated "PG"/118 min.)

Grade: B-

Copyright 1997 Michael J. Legeros
Movie Hell is a trademark of Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies in MOVIE HELL: August 10, 1997

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