Take the Lead (12A)

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Antonio Banderas (right) is super-suave as Pierre Dulaine, a dance tutor who decides, for reasons he doesn't explain, to offer free ballroom lessons to a tough New York school. The kids resist at first, of course, but they acquiesce all too quickly, and the film proceeds to the not-very-nailbiting final contest, to a rhythm that's as metronomic and old-fashioned as a Viennese waltz. Considering that Take The Lead is "inspired by a true story", it's also exasperating how little of that true story has survived.

In reality, Dulaine set up dance classes at elementary schools, not high schools, and his students never added hip-hop moves to the foxtrot. To see the actual effects of his work, rent the delightful documentary, Mad Hot Ballroom.

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