Here's the irresistible comedy treat that had critics and audiences cheering all across America ... and inspired the new Hollywood hit starring Richard Gere (CHICAGO), Jennifer Lopez (MAID IN MANHATTAN), and Susan Sarandon (DEAD MAN WALKING). A middle-aged workaholic's incredibly dull life takes a funny turn when he signs up for a ballroom dance class -- just to meet the sexy dance teacher. But when he finally muscles up the nerve for lessons he winds up with a different instructor and her colorfully eccentric class of beginners! And now he'll have to step lightly -- and do some fancy footwork -- if he expects to keep his new secret passion from his family and friends! You'll love every minute of this crowd-pleasing motion picture!
On his evening commute, bored accountant Sugiyama (Koji Yakusho) always looks for the beautiful woman who gazes wistfully out the window of the Kishikawa School of Dancing. One night he gets off the train, walks into the studio, and signs up for a class. Soon Sugiyama is so engrossed in his dancing he practices his steps on the train platform and under his desk, and becomes good enough for competition, compelling his wife to hire a private investigator to find out why he stays out late and returns home smelling of perfume. Among the colorful characters Sugiyama meets is his coworker Aoki (Naoto Takenaka), who transforms himself from geeky systems analyst to hilariously flamboyant (and bad-wigged) lounge lizard. Aoki explains to Sugiyama, "When I finish work, put on the clothes, the wig and become Donny Burns, Latin world champion, and I start to move to the rhythm, I'm so happy, so completely free." Here lies the chief charm of Shall We Dance, the contrast between the ultracompetitive women of the studio--including the one who caught Sugiyama's eye, Mai (Tamiyo Kusakari)--and the men who dance simply because they enjoy it. This 1996 film is somewhat comparable to the flamboyant Aussie favorite Strictly Ballroom, but Shall We Dance is especially noteworthy for contrasting the boldness of social dance with the buttoned-up societal mores of Japan, where people avoid public displays of emotion. Even in Japan, the joy of dance is irresistible. --David Horiuchi
Theatrical release date
DVD release date