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Saturday, May 24, 2008

MAD HOT BALLROOM (2005)

A wonderful concept (NYC school kids prep for ball dancing competition) and some wonderful subjects (a motley group of school kids), help paper over the barely adequate filmmaking skills of documentarians Amy Sewell (writer/producer) and Marilyn Agrelo (writer/director). You’ve never seen so many shots move off point at just the wrong moment. Still, they get the job done and you leave thinking the NYC public school system is just about the best imaginable. (Oy!) It’s hard to imagine that anyone could get away teaching things like deportment, diction & manners today (talk about politically incorrect!), yet that’s what’s really going on here . . . and the kids just lap it up. Special kudos to Michael of Brooklyn who is both wise beyond his years (he’s 10) and hilarious. Naturally, when they turned this true tale into a fictional pic, they made all the kids sexy high schoolers and missed the entire charm and point of the program.

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