It’s time to look at a film that pretty much everyone has heard of at some point or another. I can’t say that dancing films are usually all that good and the title is already a red flag, but maybe this film would surpass its limitations and rise to stardom? Well…that wasn’t the case here, but the film certainly tried. It’s not all bad, but the main thing that drags the film down is one of its main elements…the romance.
The film starts off with the main character narrating from the future. She explains that everyone calls her “Baby” and she lets them because she didn’t see the harm back when she was a kid. As a result this is her name for virtually the entire film until one final scene. It’s definitely a name that I imagine you would get tired of very quickly. Who wants to be called a baby right? Well, her family has decided to spend the week at a vacation place where the point is to have a good time. It’s like an American version of a host club. Unfortunately, Baby quickly finds out that this place has an underground level to it where everyone goes for dicier dances. Does she have what it takes to fit in with the rest of the crew?
You’ll probably feel bad for the parents right from the start. The club seems to be decent above ground. They do a lot of safe activities like Bingo and people are generally having a good time. So long as you don’t know about the underground, you’ll enjoy yourself. It’s a typical corporate operation so the workers aren’t treated very well either which would also undermine your enjoyment if you found out about it. It sounds like this place was pretty pricey so I imagine that this would make the guests want to turn a blind eye to everything. It’s definitely not a party resort that I would particularly enjoy as there isn’t nearly enough food, but I know some would enjoy this party atmosphere.
Meanwhile, Baby makes for a pretty dicey lead. She falls into the romance awful quick. Almost a love at first sight scenario with her and Johnny although it is unrequited at first. Baby comes across as a little desperate and it would have probably been a better plot if they had just become friends. It would have really helped hammer home the message about how Baby treats everyone the same as opposed to it also being that they are romantically involved. Apparently Baby used to be very responsible and honest prior to getting into this camp so it probably wasn’t the best experience for her.
Then we have Johnny who starts out as a pretty mean guy who has been jaded from his years in service here. He thinks everyone is out to get him and for the most part he isn’t wrong. These rich guys are ready to sink him at their first opportunity. By the end of the film we see him more as a nice guy and it’s not so much a personality 180 as it is that he trusts Baby enough for her to see more of him. It’s still a romance plot I couldn’t buy into though. He’s one of the better characters by default though.
One of the main points of drama here is that the main co-dancer with Johnny is unable to perform in the main stage as she needs an operation so Baby decides to do it for her. We get a lot of dancing montages and training moments as Johnny gets her ready. It’s handled pretty realistically as you can’t go from being a novice to an expert in a few days. Even on the day of the show Baby still isn’t perfect. Which is definitely pretty realistic. Of course, she was also so distracted by the romance that it’s not like she could train quite as much as she wanted.
I’m not a big fan of dancing so even without the romance this film probably wouldn’t have gone far for me anyway. It’s one of those things where actually dancing is certainly more enjoyable than watching it. It can get pretty competitive like in Dancing With The Stars of course, but it’s just not a sport that I would watch. It’s like Golf in that respect. Give me Basketball or Football any day. The actual dancing is still done well here though, I wouldn’t deny that. They were good at their craft.
If there is a pretty annoying thing here, it’s that one of the characters basically gets away scot free. So, there’s a kid named Robbie. He goes around being pretty iffy “Nicknamed the Creep” and yet nobody talks about it. I believe he’s a relative of the owner or something, but as a result people just put up with him. He even causes one person to have a kid and then doesn’t claim responsibility. He goes around with quite a few people and even very nearly gets money for it if not for the father finding out at the last second. He’s not fired or anything since the victim didn’t press charges, but it would have been nice to have seen him get let go.
Overall, Dirty Dancing is not the film for me. The romance is pretty heavy handed and ends up seeping into most of the dances. There is always some romance in the air with that. The pacing isn’t bad the plot is relatively engaging, but without a strong cast it is limited. The writing is decent at best, but I wouldn’t call it amazing either. There are certainly quite a few misunderstandings here because Baby is super vague when she shouldn’t have been. At the very least I feel like during her final confrontation with her family she should have laid it all out. At that point they know what’s going on so why keep them in the dark on some of the aspects? It’s not as if that would have squared away everything with the folks but it would have helped quite a bit.