“Dirty Dancing” — the 1987 movie that became the gold standard chick flick, officially turned Patrick Swayze into a hip-swiveling heartthrob and persuaded a generation of women that only good things can happen if you bring a watermelon to a party — is being remade.
Lionsgate has announced that Kenny Ortega, who choroeographed the original “Dancing” and has directed the three ”High School Musical” movies as well as “Michael Jackson’s This is It,” will direct the reboot, which presumably will still be set in the Catskills circa 1963. In a statement, Ortega suggested he is looking for “the next breakout triple-threats” to star in the film, suggesting that newcomers will play the roles made popular by Swayze and Jennifer Grey.
Fans of “Dirty Dancing” are a fervent bunch who remain steadfastly loyal to both Baby and the corner in which she was temporarily put until Johnny Castle came along. And having read this news, I am guessing that many of their heads may have just exploded.
First of all, a sequel to “Dirty Dancing” was already attempted — that would be “Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights” — and the results were less than stellar, both critically and commercially. Second of all, this is a movie revered across generations. Even those younger than the Gen X crowd have seen and adored “Dirty Dancing,” so winning over the audience is going to be an even tougher process than, say, marketing a countrified “Footloose.” Third of all, you just know this is going to be done in 3D, which is going to make the destruction of our memories of the lift and the Mickey & Sylvia scene that much more painful.
Seriously, this announcement raises many questions: how can Ortega and Co. possibly find anyone approximating a replacement for Swayze? Am I supposed to believe for a second time, in an entirely different film, that someone could be as despicable as Robbie? Can anyone else convey spaghetti arms with the same conviction as Grey? Are they going to reboot all the songs, too, giving us “I’ve Had the Time of My Life ... Again,” “Hungry Eyes Part Deux” and “She’s (Still) Like the Wind”? Lastly, is there any way this is remotely a good idea???
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