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Peter Chelsom's Shall We Dance (2004): A Predictable But Enjoyable Romantic Comedy


John Clark (Richard Gere) plays an overworked estate attorney who is bored of his life. He and his wife pass like two tumbleweeds, each running to an endless series of work and school-related meetings. One night while riding home on the metro, he looks up and sees Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) looking forlornly out the window. Enraptured by her face, he continues this stalker-like behavior until he gets the guts to go into her dance studio and sign up for ballroom dancing lessons.

It turns out that Paulina is the assistant at Madame Mitzi's School of Dance. He and two other guys, Vern (Omar Benson Miller), who hopes to impress his girlfriend, and Chic (Bobby Cannavale), who wants a girlfriend (or so he says), take lessons from Madame Mitzi herself. He begins to enjoy the dancing and feels more alive. Even his daughter starts noticing a change in him.

A predictable plot unfolds. Gere becomes a fabulous dancer; he considers cheating on his wife with J.Lo (but doesn't); both his classmates end up pretty good, too. All of this comes together in a grand dance championship with Gere almost winning the prize. It was still very fun.

I recommend this movie to anyone who likes ballroom dancing, musicals, or chick flicks with good parts for men.

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