Dirty Dancing 2
Have the time of your life..all over again.
Running Time: 82 minutes
US Certificate: PG-13 UK Certificate: PG
Country: United States
Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey joined Wayne Sleep and Lionel Blair in the category titled Great Cheesy Dancers of Our Time, when they rubbed frantically up and down against one-another on a dance floor in 1987s rubbish but fondly-remembered Dirty Dancing. This new spin on the tale, Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights only gets it half right: i.e. its pretty rubbish as well, but its hard to imagine anyone remembering it nigh-on twenty years down the line.
The lead hip-jigglers this time around are two of cinemas more promising young starlets, Englands Romola Garai and Mexicos Diego Luna. Its 1958, and Garai is young American gal Katey Miller, whos just moved with her family to Cuba, a country teetering on the brink of revolution. Shes finding it difficult to settle in, until she spots hotel waiter Javier (Luna) dancing in the street with a kid who looks like Arnold from Diffrent Strokes. Shes instantly drawn to him and, with rhythm like that, who wouldnt be?
Before long the pair of crazy kids are sneaking around behind everyones backs, secretly training themselves up for the obligatory end-of-movie dance contest. And Im probably not giving too much away by saying that, by the end of the film, salsa isnt the only thing to have crossed their filthy young minds.
Its an awkward film to put into context with its predecessor, as it can hardly be called a remake (the story is just about different enough to escape that tag), and neither is it a sequel (none of the original characters reappear). There are, however, a few obvious nods in the direction of DD1 (as Ive decided to start calling it). For one thing, theres the title. Then theres the occasional Latinized twang of Ive Had the Time of My Life creeping into the soundtrack. But, best of all, theres the lurking background presence of Swayze himself, not reprising his role of Johnny Castle, but merely playing Dance Class Instructor. The face might have grown horrifically craggy over the years, and the gigantic mullet he once sported so proudly might be no more than a deeply-disturbing memory, but theres no doubt about it: thats Swayze alright.
If dancings your thing, youre sure to enjoy the nicely-filmed salsa sequences. In fact, theres little fault to find with anything the two leads do over the course of the film. Garai, in particular, is a delight to watch in everything she appears in (see last years I Capture the Castle), and this project could be just about high enough in profile to propel her towards serious stardom.
Unfortunately, as a story it has very little going for it. The decision to pay lip-service to Cubas political problems of the period is a major mistake, as this is essentially a lightweight piece of entertainment and shouldnt pretend otherwise unless its heart is genuinely in it. In fact, the revolutionary antics of Javier and his family only serve to get in the way of the poor dialogue and so-so main plot were supposed to be concentrating on.
It's Got: Nothing dirty about it whatsoever. At the most theres a bit of snogging.
It Needs: Swayzes mullet. Despite everything Ive said, I miss it dearly.
Alternatives:Coyote Ugly, Dirty Dancing
It might put you in the mood for dancing, and maybe even romancing, but sadly this film isnt giving it all tonight.