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  • I just returned from seeing this film at a preview/test screening.

    This film was much better than I had expected. The story brings to mind movies such as Mad Hot Ballroom or Dangerous Minds, but is different enough that it is able to stand on its own.

    Overall I thought the acting was well done. The dancing was great (both the hip hop dancing and the ballroom). And while I am not a huge Antonio Banderas fan, I thought he was excellent, and I really liked him. He was able to be the star of the movie, but not the center of attention at all times. He looked good and seemed to provide a different element to what could have been the same old "help the inner city kids find hope" story.

    The script and dialogue had nothing too cheesy or corny, which is usually found in "feel good" films, or movies about highschool students. There are plenty of funny parts, as well as enough drama and interesting character conflicts to keep everything interesting.

    My only complaint was that the ending didn't seem to wrap up everything - there were some back story lines and issues that weren't resolved. But a few unanswered questions can sometimes be better than a cheesy, unbelievable ending where suddenly all is right in the world. I'll be curious to see if they make any changes before it is released in theatres.

    I give it an 8 out of 10, because I was genuinely entertained.
  • Attended a premiere of the film yesterday without knowing anything about it, and I was pleasantly surprised.

    Along the lines of similar films regarding inner city schools and the use of fine arts to motivate students, this film chooses dance as its educational medium. It provides a realistic examination of true life in the New York public school system, and of New York City in "Sex and the City" or "Friends" glamor here. I applaud this film for its casting of Antonio Banderas as the teacher who really cares for his student's lives in a world of despair. He does a great job conveying the inner struggle of a person who yearns to offer their help despite limited resources and support. Meanwhile, the students that make up his class are relative unknowns, but all are fantastic dancers with acting skills to match.

    Even if you are not a fan of either Hip Hop/Rap or Ballroom/Jazz/Ballroom styles of music and dance, this film will have your foot tapping and imagination wandering..."maybe after some lessons, I could dance like that". Both worlds are depicted with accuracy and realism, allowing followers of either genre to spy on the other.

    For parents looking for the suitability of this film for their children, I would say the minimum age should be 13-ish. Other than the odd curse word or gun play, there is not much else to worry about. The benefits and moral lessons taught by this movie far outweigh the negative aspects.

    If you've ever secretly wanted to join a dance class, this film will (hopefully) push you past your fears and have you dancing in no time.
  • This is a feel-good movie. You will enjoy it, laugh, maybe even cry, despite being able to predict what is going to happen. Banderas does a nice, understated job and the actors portraying the urban kids are outstanding. I didn't like some of the camera angles and chafed at the dance shots often being too close up to really see what the moves were, but the choices in filming undeniably added to both the realism and the energy of the scenes.

    Altho based on a true story, one has to wonder how much was added for dramatic effect. Some of the relationships/developments seem just too trite and stereotyped -- and yet the portrayals are enjoyable enough that ultimately you don't care. After the number of times audience members laughed or exclaimed over scenes or lines in the movie, I was surprised that they didn't clap at the end -- it's that kind of movie. It reminded me of both Strictly Ballroom and Stand and Deliver. You won't be sorry you've seen it.
  • First off, let me say this. You've seen this movie a million times before. From the 'Black Board Jungle' from the 50's, to 'To Sir With Love' in the 60's, 'Dangerous Minds' and 'Sister Act 2' in the 90's, the formula is exactly the same. Well meaning teacher, or non-teacher (usually Caucasian) goes into the inner city to help mold the lives of the usual assortment of troubled kids who just want to be noticed and loved. On a side note, I find it amazing that Hollywood continues year after year to make the same movie over and over again. Come to think of it, I really shouldn't be surprise. It is Hollywood after all, the land of originality. But back to my review. After having said all that, and knowing within my head that I've seen this story done so many times, I have to admit I really enjoyed the film. Don't ask me why. Maybe it was the mood I was in. I definitely wanted to see something light and breezy, because the rest of my day would be pretty hectic. Somehow the film affected me in unexpected ways. I tend to be an idealist, and freely admit that I'm the perfect sucker for this type of film.

    My recommendation is for you to go and experience this film. Don't expect to see the finest film ever made. Just go in and let it wash over you. You'll be surprised.
  • chariswatson5 April 2006
    This movie I will applaud for it's use of the art of montage. Every montage had a purpose - and they were edited together with the music super well. Not only were images from two different worlds combined in the montages - but music from two different worlds as well.

    Growing up in East Los Angeles I could relate at a lot of different points. My family didn't have it bad, but the people around me did. I can see how the dance programs would boost self-esteem and add culture to kids who didn't have chances at culture.

    The characters are well fleshed out (which is amazing for most recent movies) and Antonio Banderas gets to be his uber-suave, ultra-rich self. Dulaine opens doors and stands for ladies - moves that one kid in the movie calls "punk-@ss".

    It's a familiar story line for anyone who has seen the typical teacher movie, but there's enough intrigue in the characters, the dance and the music to keep in highly entertaining. The theater audience with us was cheering, laughing and cat-calling at different points and the lady next to me kept saying how she couldn't wait for this to come out on DVD.
  • There are so many good films being released and so many formulaic films like these are released that it seems like we can do without a film like TAKE THE LEAD.But guess what,this ain't your average coming-of-age inspiring story.This is rather more fun and effective drama powered by fantastic dance sequences,with the aid of Benderas who leads the kids.

    The entire film depends on Benderas' energy and wit.He fills the film with energy and wit and excites everyone in the film.I really enjoyed the superbly choreographed dance sequences as it brings about different cultures together and shows how much fun it could be.It's really enthralling.

    A finely made entertaining film with a different treatment to an old formula.Surprise is on their side.
  • tollini28 March 2006
    I saw this film on March 28th, 2006 in Indianapolis. I am one of the judges for the Heartland Film Festival's Truly Moving Picture Award. A Truly Moving Picture "…explores the human journey by artistically expressing hope and respect for the positive values of life." Heartland gave that award to this film. The setting is a rundown high school in a poor minority neighborhood in Manhatten. The students have a challenging family environment. Their parents are depicted as mostly unemployed and drunks, drug users, prostitutes, and low-lifes. Their children reflect this environment. They hide their low self esteem with bravura, petty crimes, slang, rudeness, indifference and, above all, their love of hip-hop music. By accident and fate, Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) walks into the Principal's office. He is challenged to work with the worst of the students as a volunteer in the detention hall after school. Pierre is an ex-professional ballroom dancer and runs a ballroom dancing school. He decides to get to the kids with ballroom dancing. His competition is hip-hop music and hip-hop dancing and the ghetto, chip-on-the-shoulder attitudes. Pierre tackles his assignment with presence. He is impeccably dressed, polite, and exudes intensity and confidence. Over time and with difficulty, he starts to bring the troubled teens up to his level. He never goes down to their level. And then he challenges the teens with a city-wide ballroom dance contest, and the story takes off. Pierre attempts to give hope to the students by having them make good choices. Pierre's tools are his own spirit, grace, sacrifice and charm. He wills his way into getting respect from the students. The movie has the same inspirational feel as "Mad Hot Ballroom" but is much different. This film is fiction and about older students and is much more edgy and brutal. While the film is occasionally edgy and dark, the music and dance makes this strangely a light and entertaining watch for most of the time. And the music and dance are eclectic – from Gershwin to 50 Cents and from Tango to slow motion Breakdance. FYI – There is a Truly Moving Pictures web site where there is a listing of past Truly Moving Picture Award winners that are now either at the theater or available on video.
  • bigmama75224 April 2006
    I, for one, thought this was an excellent movie! True, it does have a familiar plot, but that does not at all distract from the true intention of the film. If I had to categorize it, I would say it's a seamless mix between Dangerous Minds and Save the Last Dance. However, unlike those, this is a TRUE story. This is not some script that came from someone's head, it really happened. I would highly recommend this film to anyone who loves a great story. This movie is very inspirational and has phenomenal music to boot. I was dancing in my seat. So forget what you think you know, and just give this film a chance. I think you'll be pleasantly surprised.
  • Saw this movie at River Run Film Festival. The editing is incredible. Liz constantly inter-cuts between several stories at the same time, all in beat with the background music. Her background in music videos really shows in this film. Bandaras does a good job in this role. But the really significant aspect of this movie is the realistic portrayal of the lives of the high school students. I've never seen a movie with such believable gritty realism. At first, I was put off by not being able to understand every word of dialog but realized I didn't need to. This was another aspect of the realism of the film. Very creative storytelling.
  • In New York, the polite dance instructor Pierre Dulaine (Antonio Banderas) sees a black teenager vandalizing the car of the director of a public school and on the next day he volunteers to teach dance to students to give respect, dignity, self-confidence, trust and teamwork. The reluctant director Augustine James (Alfre Woodard) offers the troublemakers that are in detention expecting Pierre to give-up of his intentions. Pierre struggles against the prejudice and ignorance of the students, parents and other teachers, but wins his battle when the group accepts to compete in a ballroom dance contest.

    Movies of dance are usually attractive, and the entertaining "Take the Lead" is no exception. However, this feature is more important because it is based on a true story of a man that has decided to make a difference, helping poor students to see life with another perspective. Antonio Banderas shows again that he is a "complete" actor, capable of performing the most different roles. The real Pierre Dulaine deserves this homage for the importance of his gesture and action. Jenna Dewan, from "Step-up" and the sexy Katya Virshilas are stunning dancers and the actors and actresses present wonderful choreographic dances. My vote is seven.

    Title (Brazil): "Vem Dançar" ("Come to Dance")
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I got to see a preview of this film on the last night of the Latino Film Festival here in San Diego, CA last night and was pleasantly surprised. I originally thought the theme seemed to have already been done to death, but there was enough new here to keep the interest. I was especially pleased with the right amount of humor mixed in with the drama. Just a bit more entertaining than an episode of Boston Public (which is a good thing), but with all the realism. YaYa Decosta, of America's Next Top Model fame, puts in a good performance as do most of the kids. I also liked the fact that the story didn't get bogged down by too many other story lines and even left one of them open as the movie comes to an end. Stay for the entire dance scene at the end during the credits, it's worth seeing.

    7 out of 10, see it now or wait and rent the DVD
  • TAKE THE LEAD (2006) *** Antonio Banderas, Rob Brown, Alfre Woodard, Dante Basco, Lyriq Bent, Brandon Andrews, Laura Benanti, Yaya DaCosta, Jenna Dewan, Elijah Kelley, Shawand Mckenzie, Marcus T. Paulk, Joseph Pierre, Katya Virshilas, Heidi von Palleske. "To Sir With Love" meets "Dance With Me" could've been the pitch for his entertaining melodrama based on the true-life account of Pierre Dulaine's (Banderas in one of his best performances) unorthodox method of communicating with Manhattan high school delinquents with teaching them ballroom dancing. While Dianne Houston's screenplay is riddled with clichés and formulaic storytelling, novice filmmaker Liz Friedlander, who cut her teeth on music videos, inhabits the film with a lot of style, panache and energy thanks largely to her unknown ensemble of willing young talent and stand-up and cheer moments including a ménage a trios tango that sizzles.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    The very few negative reviews I have read on this site so far are so off base and uneducated, I wonder if the viewers have actually seen the movie. To answer the individual from Brazil, anyone familiar with the world of Music Videos knows that not only is Liz Friedlander and accomplished director, but she is also a WOMAN! Furthermore I was fortunate enough to see the film at a sneak preview and can assure the reviewer that Ray Liotta does not show up anywhere in the film, the only cameo as far as I can tell was this Brazilian reviewers brief attendance at a screening - because there is now way he watched the entire movie.

    As far as the film itself goes, director Liz Friedlander expertly crafts an interesting twist of a timeless story using excellent storytelling skills, an amazing feel for music and a perspective that is both fresh and compelling. Mr. Banderas is outstanding in a role we have never seen him in before. This time he is not simply the dashing Zorro, or the sexy Latin Lover, but instead a vulnerable teacher trying to inspire troubled youth while giving respect to the real life character he portrays. As per usual, Alfre Woodard of Desperate Houswives fame, gives a classy and inspired performance. New comer Yaya Decosta radiates grace, elegance and triumph and Rob Brown, all grown up since his days opposite Sean Connery, is as good as he has ever been.
  • A good-hearted dance professor(Banderas) asks to Principal(Alfre Woodard)of a rough school the education of rebels students by the Dance-Studio, then he takes over a class of unteachable pupils(Reb Brown, DaCosta, among them).The novice teacher gradually earning respect from his pupils and he learns that turning their attitude requires an intense understanding of their hard-knock lives. Together these misfits attempt to win the championship of the ballroom. The film is based on real character , about Pierre Dulaine who appears uncredited as one of the judges for the grand ballroom competition.

    This well-meaning film is an enjoyable retread on two sub-genre : a)about the professor teaching unteachable teens, such as ¨Dangerous minds¨(directed by John Smith with Michelle Pffeifer),¨To sir with love¨(James Clavell with Sidney Poitier)¨Blackboard Jungle¨(Richard Brooks with Glenn Ford) along with , b) about the spectacular ballroom, including championship of dancing-saloon, such as ¨Stricly Ballroom(Baz Luhrman with Paul Mercurio),¨ Dance with me¨(Vanessa Williams and Cheyanne) and ¨Shall we dance¨(Richard Gere,Jennifer Lopez).In the film is heard and splendidly danced several dance styles: Foxtrot,Tango,Chachacha,Rumba,Vals and Salsa. Well-acted by Antonio Banderas with experience at dancing in ¨Evita¨ and excellent supporting casting with extraordinary plethora of young people who make a nice work, in spite of mostly are newcomers. The movie is well produced by Toby Emmerich and the actor Ray Liotta. The story is professionally directed by Liz Friedlander in a great debut and his only film , he's usually video-maker, as REM, Celine Dion , among others. The flick will like to Antonio Banderas fans and youthful public. Hot music and dancing, as well as the charm of the leads, make this one well worth watching for any dancer fever enthusiastic.
  • Of course we do. Though squeezed excessively by Hollywood, movies like this have a meaning. There are only so many original plots in the world. Furthermore, this is based on a true story, so there's no real stealing involved.

    However, some parts of the movie were over exaggerated to induce humor, and consequently some actors did not perform as good as they could have. Overall though, there was no terrible acting from anyone. And a lot of great dancing. Some of the camera usage was just phenomenal! For anyone who loves to dance, or appreciate arts, this is an awesome movie. That three person scene at the end was hot! If you go in with hopes of being entertained, then you will be. Just don't go in with the attitude: "Oh, now he's going to gain their trust, How old!". This is a good movie overall, even though there were some parts that could be improved. Give it a try!
  • This movie is "inspired by" the story of Pierre Dulaine, who started a ballroom dance school program in New York. But "inspired by" seems to equal "use a real person's name," because this movie feels utterly false in every detail, from its "cute meet" with a thuggish (but good-hearted) student through its two cardboard bad guys to a final ridiculous finale that pushed absurdly unrealistic to new heights. It felt so unlikely, and I remembered that Mad Hot Ballroom, about that same dance program, had featured younger kids, so I googled around and found an excellent review on some website called Townhall by Megan Basham that pretty much said everything I felt, and also pointed out that in fact the program was created not by one person but by two and did in fact start in two schools with younger kids of various backgrounds.

    But what is probably a very interesting story is tossed out in favor of a very shallow Hollywoodization.

    This is not to say the movie isn't watchable. The cast is engaging and there are some nice dance numbers in it, and of course Hollywood clichés can have a certain manipulative power. But the problem is, every new ridiculous event in the movie pushed me further from enjoyment and towards irritation.

    When people complain about Hollywood movies, this is exactly what they're complaining about.
  • This is a textbook example of how the Hollywood cookie cutter factory takes a nice sleeper hit documentary and turns it into 2 hours worth of clichés. I lost count as to the number of other films whose elements and ideas it used. I almost expected to hear the blonde competitor say, "You're okay LaRusso", when she presented the trophy, or have one of Pierre's kids get on the mike at the end and say, "If I can change...and you can change.........everybody can change."

    If you want to feel uplifted and see real kids enrich themselves in real life situations, please do yourself a favor by skipping this and seeing Mad Hot Ballroom instead.
  • serf929 June 2006
    I was really looking forward to this film but came out highly disappointed.

    Everything was good about this film except the editing, screenplay, character development, clichés, mediocre direction ... oh, and there wasn't much of a story.

    I know it's 'based on a true story' but let's emphasise _based_: it could have been dramatized better than this. Instead, in true Hollywood fashion, we end up with yet another could-have-been. Obviously, the producers made it because the concept sells. They couldn't have cared less whether the movie was any good. Without mincing my words, this film is a diabolically formulaic, string of familiar scenes joined together with plot devices.

    Right from the beginning we know we've seen countless films like it and this feeling continues right through. I think we call that feeling boredom, or is it, disappointment? Boredom throughout and then disappointment at the end because our hopes are dashed. Put it this way, I was waiting for plot development, a buildup to a climax and gripping drama. Unfortunately, that never happened. That's why I was left disappointed.

    Anybody who liked this film just doesn't see what it could have been.
  • Warning: Spoilers
    I didn't expect to like Liz Friedlander's 'Take The Lead' very much. And I didn't. To be honest, though, it didn't annoy me anywhere near as much as I thought it would.

    Every studio-friendly grimy ghetto stereotype is presented to us, with a side-order of WASPish snobbery. The hard-as-nails High School Principal with the heart-of-gold, the feckless parents, the hoods, the hookers, the Romeo and Juliet wannabes, the follow-your-dream sentiment. And into this mix fate throws…er…Antonio Banderas as a ballroom dancing teacher, of the sort that would be torn apart by the ravening mob attendant at any High School I've ever visited. And yet this purports to be based upon a true story. Fair enough.

    My main problem is that, despite the veracity of the source story, it's too neat. There are no loose ends, which rather beggars belief in the reality of the tale. Love triumphs. Virtue is rewarded. Hard work and enthusiasm win the day. Uplifting, perhaps, but little reflection on the lifestyles of the kids as represented in the first half of the film. If anything this feels like the cheery pilot episode of a TV show. The foul spectre of 'the Kids From Fame' hangs heavy in the air.

    Banderas is as stylish as ever, and Alfre Woodard is as cockily capable as ever, but it's the screen presence of Yaya DaCosta and Rob Brown as our would-be Montagu and Capulet that save the film.

    It's not very good, but it's not that bad – and the soundtrack is interesting.
  • When I saw this movie it was so good that the next week I went and saw it again. The dancing was phenomenal and the acting made this movie awesome. Antonio Banderas was amazing and he made the whole story believable. He has only risen in my opinion since i saw this movie. An amazing movie no one could have played Pierre Dulaine as well, not even Pierre Dulaine. But while Antonio Banderas was the best with out the Kids there would be no story. They took the parts and danced them into top gear. It is an amazing movie, a must see if you love dancing and a must see even if you don't like dancing. This movie is a must see........again
  • For an adult interested in a good story, good acting and a positive message, and not interested in great special effects, this was a very enjoyable film. We go to the cinema to escape, don't we? To see something outside of our everyday reality, on a big screen. The magic remains in the cinema, and this film is a great example of why I like to go to the cinema.

    Antonio Banderas plays his character well: a man who ventures just outside his zone of comfort, who understands his good fortune in life, and wishes to do good. His supporting actors do good work. The focus remains on the story throughout the film.

    These days, in some respects, going to the cinema is not what it was years ago: so many people now carry cellphones, there are video screens inside the theatre, and the theatre has a dozen or more films screens showing many films at once. Yet in some respects people still go to the cinema for the same reason as they always have: to be entertained, to see something outside of their every day existence, for the magic of film.

    This is a good film. It is worth seeing. It is fun to watch. I can't wait until it is released on DVD, so I can rent it -- or, better, borrow it from my local public library -- and see it again.
  • tedg8 April 2006
    By now you already know the essentials. This is like scores of other movies that mix the competition genre — success in life as dedication to some competitive sport — with the black kids redeemed by tough dedicated teacher. Its a predictable grind.

    There are other distractions: the patronizing tone is heavier than usual, Banderas, usually charming, has some syrupy lines that might have been forgiven if he had actually danced. I guess it wasn't in his contract. The final peculiarity comes if you saw "Mad Hot Ballroom." The competition is in actually learning the graces of ballroom dancing, but this movie wants it both ways and ends with a hop hop sequence. It is as if he talked them into entering a polo context and they won it by playing basketball.

    Well, I forgive all this, because the dance is handled cinematically, and that's good enough for me. Forget all the tepid excuses and bozo morality and just look at this as an episode in the long love affair between movies and dance.

    This particular thread started with Fred Astair I suppose. The problem was that movies were trying to become something more than stage shows. So they had to figure some way to merge dance that would appear in the story. Astair combined ballroom dancing with the kind of stage dancing from the old era.

    This way, it made sense in a subtle but important way and we ended up with a whole class of dance folding in what followed.

    This movie is essentially about hip hop dance merged with "whitebread" ballroom dancing. The fold is ordinary: at the end we have an audience on-screen engaged in their sometimes nice business of polite dancing, sometimes with a representation of passion but not real passion.

    And what gets folded in is "real" life, real passion (supposedly, though who believes kids can know anything about passion?).

    So if you are going to judge this, there are only two things to watch for:

    —Is the passionate dance passionate? Is it real? Do you feel that you are taking risks with it; that you are seeing the dancers at the edge? Is it Jazz? Does it hurt?

    No it doesn't. You never escape the reality that these are professional dancers picked to match the required stereotypes and who are moving clumsily by design. Then when they bust out you know you are watching something choreographed.


    —Does the camera dance? After all, the whole thing is about enfolding us into the energy of the thing. And it is possible to place the camera amid the dance and animate it as if we were ourselves busting out.

    And this does reward a bit, especially in the editing until the end. That end I guess is too important to the producers, so it abruptly shifts into conventional camera mode. It may have been shot first with a different creating crew.

    But earlier, the camera does engage. And the lighting is subtly edgy.

    Ted's Evaluation -- 2 of 3: Has some interesting elements.
  • huiyt27 March 2006
    Decent, definitely a rental. I'd give it a 5.0, typical "inspired by a true story" movie. Quite cliché with "maturation" themes. A few corny comedic moments. A little on the long side, had trouble sitting through this in the theater. See it if you like ballroom dance, have to admit it had its well choreographed moments but.... the story falls a little short. Don't see it if you want to see it for the urban dance, its rare in the movie, but there is some. Overall, I was disappointed, but the disappointment was expected. Very dull movie, no surprises, no heart wrenching drama, nothing emotionally shaking. Predictable is all you can describe this story line as. The performances of the cast were mediocre and the lines were weak. I expected to be inspired, I walked away with mixed feelings. I'd rather have seen it at home definitely.
  • A movie where Antonio Banderas teaches delinquents pride, respect, honor, and discipline through the fine art of ballroom dancing? Uh huh. I know guys; I thought the same thing as you when first subjected to the trailer. Unless you thought, "Man, Antonio Banderas dancing? That looks awesome! I can't wait!" In which case you most likely sleep with men.

    But I have to admit that this really isn't all that unbearable. You should still definitely put up a fight and let your gal know that she's forcing you to go see it (you'll need the leverage sometime in the future), but there are certainly worse films she could drag you to. After all, Stick It is coming soon and it looks no less painful than an unhindered 90 MPH baseball straight to the groin.

    I guess I should admit that the majority of my enjoyment comes from the fact that I rather like watching the female form in dancing motion, and that's a bit of superficiality that I refuse to be ashamed of.

    Others, mainly women and guys most likely not attracted to women, will find plenty of appeal in Banderas' charm and the warm, fuzzy feelings derived from yet another "you can do it!" motivational tale about kids from the wrong side of the tracks. Did you know that kids from ALL walks of life can succeed if they put forth the required effort? It's true. I saw it at the movies. Several times. And trust me, we'll see it several more.

    This really shouldn't come as a surprise, but there are times when the film produces more cheese than the entire state of Vermont. Bring along your trusty yellow bucket because you'll need it when Antonio starts using lines like (and I paraphrase), "I don't see rejects. All I see are choices ... choices yet to be made." Yeah, and all I see is my breakfast redirecting its way back through my esophagus, ready to make an encore.

    The movie also teaches a strong message about the dangers of excessive eye-rolling. My left eye socket almost detached during a scene when a snobby, blonde bad actress/dancer and one of the delinquent dancers share a moment of mutual respect. Trust me, it's bad and you won't be able to deny it.

    I also didn't buy it when all the regulars at the dance competition recoiled in abject horror at the appearance of the delinquents. Come on, would there really be so many blank-stared, open-mouthed looks of surprise? It's not like the kids waltzed in wearing t-shirts, baggy jeans, and high tops. They were in nice gowns and tuxes. The reactions were a tad over-the-top.

    All right, I think I've poked enough fun at the movie to keep my man card firmly intact.

    Take the Lead isn't a film I would've paid to see, but I'm man enough to admit that it is moderately entertaining for a one-and-done.
  • Antonio Banderas stars as a real life New York dance instructor who takes it upon himself to instruct a bunch of inner city children in ballroom dancing, for purposes of teaching them trust, self-esteem and self-discipline. Banderas plays the lead role with understated elegance, and a couple of the kids are truly cute. Otherwise, this doesn't begin to hold a candle to MAD HOT BALLROOM, which was a documentary on the same person and program. LEAD is too long, too padded, and quickly comes to resemble SISTER ACT 2 and the Sidney Poitier flicks, A PIECE OF THE ACTION and TO SIR, WITH LOVE. You can predict every thing everyone will do and say, right down to the KARATE KID-style climax. Great music and dancing, though. In fact, the movie could have used more dancing and less chatter.
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