Richard Gere might be under the impression that he's pretty slick on the dance floor following his stint in Chicago, but sadly he's as flatfooted as this remake of a 1996 Japanese hoofer by Masayuki Suo. Jennifer Lopez co-stars in this Hollywood version as a dance instructor who puts the passion back into Gere's workaday life. But under direction from Peter Chelsom, Shall We Dance? stumbles into a tight corner between comedy and romance, failing to satisfy on either count.
A vision of the Lycra-clad Paulina (Jennifer Lopez) in the window of Miss Mitzi's Studio brightens up the daily commute for jaded Chicago lawyer John Clark (Richard Gere). Although he loves his wife (Susan Sarandon), he signs up for classes just for the chance to get close to her. Of course John is soon surprised to discover that his love of ballroom dancing overtakes his obsession with the lovely Latina, but not before the missus suspects he's having an affair.
"THERE'S NIL CHEMISTRY BETWEEN LOPEZ AND GERE"
While his foxtrot won't take your breath away, Gere is unusually endearing in his middle-aged awkwardness. As a closeted salsa freak with a spray-on tan, Stanley Tucci also lifts proceedings, but Lopez is a weak link in the chain. She's certainly got the moves but, in close-up, her performance is one-note ie sullen. In turn, there is nil chemistry between Lopez and Gere, which means the entire story falls flat on its face. Another key aspect lost in the move from Japan to America, is the clash between starched white-collar culture and the wild abandon of the ballroom. In simple terms, Shall We Dance? lacks the spring in its step.