TAKE THE LEAD | Movie Reviews + Features | Pittsburgh | Pittsburgh City Paper
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TAKE THE LEAD 

Think Dangerous Minds meets any of the ballroom-dance-craze films released in the past two years. Considering the underdog tropes highlighted throughout, at least director Liz Friedlander introduces the film as "inspired by" instead of "based on" a true story. Antonio Banderas stars as real-life ballroom-dance humanitarian Pierre Dulaine, a man so suave he rides his bike in coattails. He instructs a group of detention-bound inner-city high schoolers in preparation for a high-society dance competition. While the film strives for edginess, the characters are more tame than troubled, and their progress from bumping and grinding to Rogers and Astaire is rarely seen. Expectations for an explosive ending are dashed when the final scenes fizzle out in mediocrity: Constant cutting takes away from the impressiveness of the anticipated dance sequences, something that a few long shots might have remedied. (AW)
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