Reviewer's Rating 2 out of 5  
Centre Stage (2001)

When a film distributor gets its hands on a good movie, they broadcast exciting excerpts on TV, publish snippets of rave reviews and ensure that no wall on the London Underground is not covered with their posters. And since a London Transport minute is effectively five, you have time to read them more than once.

By contrast, when a film is shunted around the schedules so that its release date keeps changing, it usually means a film is bad, or at least mediocre, containing nothing at all to excite the studio. And if they're thrilled to the point of nodding off, then the audience sure as hell will too. Nicholas Hytner himself, who famously directed "The Madness of King George", also seems to be slumbering his way though this fat cliché of a film, which is mediocre only in its better moments.

Hytner's original spark has clearly deserted him as he ploughs through this yawn of a film, a backstage peek into the lives of three young girls, all of whom are vying for a place in an ultra-prestigious dance company.

Contributing to the lifelessness of the enterprise is the fact that all three are types rather than real characters: Jody, naïve to the point of absurdity; Eva, the pushy, gum-chewing one with attitude; and Maureen, the neurotic one with the ambitious, oppressive mum. Factor in Cooper, the arrogant, manipulative teacher, and Jonathan, his even more arrogant, manipulative boss, and you have two show-offs who are almost a parody of showbiz egotists. An anaemic dud.

End Credits

Director: Nicholas Hytner

Writer: Carol Heikkinen

Stars: Amanda Schull, Zoe Saldana, Susan May Pratt, Peter Gallagher, Donna Murphy, Debra Monk, Ethan Stiefel, Sascha Radetsky

Genre: Drama

Length: 115 minutes

Cinema: 16 February 2001

Country: US

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