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In 1958, 18-year-old Katey Vendetto (Romola Garai) moves with her parents and her sister Susie (Mika Boorem) to Havana, where her father has taken a post as an executive. At her new school, Katey attracts the attention of James Phelps (Jonathan Jackson), the son of her dad's boss, but she's more interested in Javier (Diego Luna) a sexy poolboy who also happens to be a highly talented dancer. When Javier is fired after he and Katey are seen together, she comes up with a plan to help him and his family escape from Cuba's oppressive Batista regime: they will train together to win a prestigious dance competition at a local country club.

Review by Jake Wilson:
Rather than a literal sequel to the 1987 hit, Dirty Dancing 2 is a variation on the same basic fantasy: buttoned-up girl meets sensitive hunk from the wrong side of the tracks, who puts her in touch with her body for the first time. Whether played out in the Catskills or in pre-revolutionary Cuba, it's a hokey formula that works. Romola Garai may be more convincing as an easily embarrassed bookworm than as a hot Latin dancer, but Diego Luna from Y Tu Mama Tambien is certainly a big improvement on Patrick Swayze, who makes a grotesque cameo appearance as a wizened dance instructor. At this point, Swayze looks like he's had one facelift too many - or was he always that stiff?

This is yet another film which has almost certainly been hacked around in post-production: the narrative feels jerky, the dance sequences only occasionally come to life, and the soft-focus depiction of sex, revolution and family conflict is unlikely to raise eyebrows among the core audience of twelve-year-old girls.

Still, Guy Ferland's polished direction raises the final product a cut or two above average, using a visual plan built around mirrors, screens and shallow-focus compositions to dramatise the constraints suffered by Katey and Javier in their different social worlds. Not exactly Douglas Sirk, but not bad for a modern teen movie. When you think about it, there's even a certain wisdom in the script's insistence on the connection between the personal and the political, implying that freedom can only be won by liberating the individual body. Clichés, of course. But where would movies be, without the faith that every cliché hides a grain of truth?

DVD Special features by Louise Keller:
Highlight of the DVD's special features are the multi-angle dance sequences, which include no less than four different angles. There's an audio commentary by the producer and choreographer, deleted scenes, and a featurette about the dancing. Dancing is about accepting who you are, says Diego Luna. 'I was slightly naïve,' says Romala Garai, 'I had no idea how physically demanding it is.'

Published March 24, 2005

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CAST: Diego Luna, Romola Garai, Sela Ward, John Slattery, Jonathan Jackson, January Jones, Mika Boorem, René Lavan

PRODUCER: Lawrence Bender, Sarah Green

DIRECTOR: Guy Ferland

SCRIPT: Peter Sagal

CINEMATOGRAPHER: Anthony B. Richmond

EDITOR: Luis Colina, Scott Richter

MUSIC: Heitor Pereira

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Hugo Luczyc-Wyhowski

RUNNING TIME: 105 minutes


SPECIAL FEATURES: Audio Commentary , Multi-angle Dance Sequences , Deleted Scenes , Featurettes: Baila! A Dance Piece


DVD RELEASE: March 16, 2005

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