Shall We Dance

Bomb Rating: 

"Shall We Dance?" is more manipulative than a tobacco lobbyist at a lung cancer convention.

This is a Japanese film and I was going to find all the information necessary to put the actors' names in parentheses after their character's names and tell you who directed the movie, but that all seems kind of pointless to me since there might be one person in a million who knows a Japanese actor from a hole in the ground.

This film is about how dancing changes the life of Japanese accountant Shohei Sugiyama (See Above) and turns him from an expressionless slug into a fully functional human being who is able to share his thoughts and feelings with the world. This metamorphosis occurs after he sees sad-looking Mai Kishikawa (See Above) in a window, signs up for dance lessons so he can dance with her, then finds out he enjoys dancing and becomes really good at it.

The presence of lots of wacky supporting characters is a dead giveaway that "Shall We Dance?" is really an offshoot of the "loser sports" film genre (which can cover anything from soccer to bobsledding to the lambada). Such films typically employ such tangential hijinks to distract audiences from the main plot which, given any serious attention, would prove completely mind-numbing.

This is helpful, because allowing the audience to focus too closely on the adventures of the Japanese accountant protagonist would reveal that "Shall We Dance?" is more manipulative than a tobacco lobbyist at a lung cancer convention. The Japanese are so stiff that they even find the British to be about as freewheeling as a herd of fornicating rabbits. Accountants, no matter what the nationality, are like the Vulcans of Planet Earth: Once every seven years they rub themselves on somebody in a public place and then go back about their business of being stoic, emotionless and boring as hell. Put these two things together and any activity short of dropping into a coma would seem like an emotional revelation.

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