All reviews all the time! Home   Movies   Music   Video Games
4 DVDs 49 cents each!  |  Rent Dvds- Free Trial  |  Buy Movie Posters  

 Search Amazon
  Browse Movies 

 Browse by Genre 

 Other Movie/Video Review
Save the Last Dance

movie reviewmovie review out of 4 Movie Review: Save the Last Dance

Starring: Julia Stiles, Sean Patrick Thomas
Director: Thomas Carter
Rated: PG-13
RunTime: 112 Minutes
Release Date: January 2001
Genres: Drama, Romance

*Also starring: Fredro Starr, Kerry Washington, Garland Whitt, Vince Green, Terry Kinney, Bianca Lawson

Reviewer Roundup
1.  Steve Rhodes review follows movie reviewvideo review
2.  Dustin Putman read the review movie reviewmovie reviewvideo review
3.  Harvey Karten read the review ---
4.  MrBrown read the review movie reviewmovie review

Review by Steve Rhodes
1½ stars out of 4

Wanting badly to be another ethnic dance movie in the spirit of SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER, SAVE THE LAST DANCE never rises above SATURDAY NIGHT COLD.

Starring two badly miscast leads, the film features Julia Stiles as would-be Julliard ballerina Sara Johnson and Sean Patrick Thomas as inner city black high school student and would-be future doctor Derek Reynolds. Stiles (10 THINGS I HATE ABOUT YOU) just does not have the body of a ballerina. Would you cast Danny DeVito to try out for the NBA? And Thomas (CRUEL INTENTIONS) has upper middle-class prep school written all over him. Don't get me wrong, the only good part of the movie is their relationship together. The problem is that they don't fit the script, and even if they did, this is not a movie worth making. Between its lame dance sequences is more dead air time than a radio station during a long power blackout.

The movie, directed by Thomas Carter and written by Duane Adler and Cheryl Edwards, never can decide what kind of movie it wants to be. Sometimes it's a sappy melodrama. Sometimes it tries to be a hard hitting drama about jealousy among the races over interracial dating. Derek's sister Chenille (Kerry Washington) complains to Sara about her taking "one of the few decent men we have left after jail, drugs and drive-bys." Sometimes it is about male bonding ("Blood is thicker than blondes.") And sometimes, finally, we get around to dancing, but the choreography is so awkward and the editing so choppy that you probably won't care.

It all starts when Sara's mom is killed while rushing to Sara's Julliard audition. Cue the harps. Off Sara goes next to live with the man whom she calls Roy (Terry Kinney) but who once was her father. Cue the violins. He has all of the personality of the torn wallpaper that decorates the flea-bitten apartment where he lives. This makes Sara almost the only white face in her new high school.

At this point, Sara refuses to dance anymore or even talk about it. Of course, after she meets and falls for Derek, it's quickly Julliard or bust.

Along the way we are taught many dubious moral lessons. Derek's sister, still in high school, has a son, but she shows more interest in her wardrobe than her son, whom she has palmed off on her mother like a batch of dirty laundry. Needless to say, the boy's father is even less interested in his own offspring. The kids all get fake ids and drink illegally in a fancy nightclub in elegant clothes. Where does all this money come from since no one seems to work?

And then there's the issue of violence. Malakai (Fredro Starr), with whom Derek unconvincingly claims to have once knocked over a liquor store, wants to go shoot up another gang's neighborhood in retaliation for a previous raid. Yes, this whole script is lifted from lots of other films and plays, most notably WEST SIDE STORY. But in those, the actions have some amount of credibility. Here people are shot, but the dreamy background music makes it seem downright romantic and not especially painful.

I kept wanting to stop the movie, clear off the set except for the two leads, and begin anew with a completely different script and director. I like Stiles and Thomas together. I did not like the movie in which they found themselves stuck.

SAVE THE LAST DANCE runs 1:53. It is rated PG-13 for violence, sexual content, language and brief drug references and would be acceptable for teenagers.

My son Jeffrey, age 11, gave the picture just **. He thought it was too slow, the whole Malakai character was unnecessary, and he didn't like Sara's relationship with her parents. He did comment favorably on the two leads.

Copyright 2001 Steve Rhodes

More reviews:    Main  2   3   4   Next >>
buy dvd

buy video

read the reviews

In Affiliation with
Buy movie posters!

Home | Movies | Music | Video Games | Songs | | | Columbia House | Netflix

Copyright 1998-2002
Privacy Policy |  Advertising Info |  Contact Us