Dirty Dancing: Missing All the Magic of the Original
When you think of Dirty Dancing you likely think of three things: “Nobody puts Baby in a corner”, the iconic song, “I’ve Had The Time Of My Life”, and the signature lift. What you probably don’t think of is anything that happened in the tragic remake that aired on ABC. Yet, here we are, having to suffer through yet another unnecessary remake of a classic film.
The unfortunate remake lacked all the charisma, passion, and energy of the original film that it was so loosely based on—and that’s not even the worst of it. You would expect a film that had dancing in the title to have some significant dance numbers. I’m not sure you can call what these actors were attempting to do dancing—more like robotically going through the motions. Not to mention Baby Houseman, played by an incredibly miscast Abigail Breslin, seemed to be steadily getting worse at dancing throughout this bloated three hour film. Not that Johnny Castle, portrayed stoically by Colt Prattes, was much better. In his defense, it’s hard to touch the sultry and legendary dance moves Patrick Swayze effortlessly displayed in the lead role.
One of the main reasons the original Dirty Dancing was such a success was the electric chemistry between its leads. You’d be hard pressed to find two people who have more onscreen chemistry than Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey, who played Baby Houseman with the perfect amount of innocence and spunk. Sadly, Prattes and Breslin couldn’t possibly have less chemistry and neither seems to truly understand their character’s motivations. While the romance is certainly forbidden, the lack of heat and passion between these two gives us zero reason to root for them as a couple.
The only saving grace of this dreadful remake is the few scenes we get between Lisa Houseman and Marco, played by Sarah Hyland and J. Quinton Johnson respectively. These two have more chemistry in the thirty seconds they’re on screen than anyone else in the film. Not to mention they both sing beautifully and bring a much needed lightheartedness to this dull remake. If only these two were our Baby and Johnny, maybe we would have found ourselves more invested.
Despite how often these made-for-television remakes fail, there seems to be no shortage of them and new ones pop up consistently. We highly doubt this will be last one we will be forced to sit through. For every decent television remake—take Grease and Hairspray for example—there will be several others that fall flat. If networks want to continue to profit off already existing cinematic classics, the least they can do is give it the care and attention it deserves. At the very least, make sure we NEVER get another remake as horrific as Dirty Dancing. As for now, we will be silently praying one of the networks airs the original so millennials don’t see this appalling version.
Photo Credit: ABC/Guy D’Alema