A remake of the heartwarming Japanese comedy about a conservative family man who rediscovers the passion and love in his life through ballroom dancing.
This remake of the 1996 Japanese film that set unlikely box office records in its native country turns more on a sexy, cinematic dance revivalism than the charms of stars Richard Gere and Jennifer Lopez. While its soundtrack never veers far from that noble task, it gratifyingly jolts its familiar rumbas and tango rhythms with a few modern musical kicks all its own. Pussycat Dolls' crisp, sensuous take of the standard "Sway" may subtly juice tradition, but Gotan Project's "Santa Maria" gives those familiar Latin rhythms a downright savory electronica makeover. Producer/arranger John Altman underscores tradition via his versions of chestnuts both lively ("Happy Feet") and ethno-apropos ("Espana Cani," "Perfidia," "Andalucia") and even a suitably schmaltzy cover of Mancini's signature "Moon River." Altman's sturdy musical background helps focus songs as diverse as Peter Gabriel's bittersweet "The Book of Love" and Gizelle O'Cole/Pilar Montenegro's vibrant, modern Latin-inflected title song, Jamie Cullum's club-beat-meets-lounge take on "I Could Have Danced All Night" and Miya's slinky, hip-hop seasoned remake of Bowie's "Let's Dance." --Jerry McCulley