‘Dirty Dancing’ fans were all-out hating on the remake last night. But, I was willing to give it a chance until the surprise ’12 years later’ ending that changed everything and just squashed every bit of fairy tale magic out of the film. Why, oh why did they do it ?
I think I’m safe in asking for the millions of Dirty Dancing fans who tuned in to the remake of the beloved 1987 classic on ABC last night — WHAT THE HELL HAPPENED?! I don’t agree with many of my compatriots that it was just a bad idea, full stop, to even attempt to do a remake. Dangerous, yes. Challenging, yes. But, you never know! It is possible for a redo to have its own charm. Hey, FOX did a fabulous job with their live version of Grease, starring Vanessa Hudgens, Julianne Hough and Aaron Tveit.
So, I’m pushing back against everyone who dissed the idea of a remade Dirty Dancing as a non-starter. Now, not one fan has raved that casting Abigail Breslin was a great idea. Not sure how the producers decided that Breslin was a brilliant choice. She’s a fine young actress, but hello, she can’t dance and doesn’t have a big musical-ready voice like, surprisingly, Debra Messing. But, she was awkward, and she did look young and nerdy. Besides, Nicole Scherzinger sizzled as Penny and she and Colt Prattes‘ Johnny danced up an impressive storm. Their intensity almost made up for the utter lack of sexual chemistry between Breslin’s “Baby” and Prattes’ Johnny.
So, what I’m putting out here is that the new Dirty Dancing was majorly flawed and it faced a very difficult task in trying to win over devoted fans. But, it still had a chance to leave viewers with a warm afterglow. The final talent show scene — inherently a heart-tugger — had enough power to pull skeptical viewers into feeling like they hadn’t wasted three hours of their precious lives. BUT THEN, the film killed every bit of good will it might have built up by bursting the entire romantic bubble that all of Dirty Dancing was based on — the hope that Baby and Johnny had a future together at some point, at some time. That despite all the differences of their backgrounds, they were still meant to be.
The decision to tack on a “12 Years Later” scene that had a more grownup, made up “Frances” reuniting with a kind of grungy, successful Broadway producer, Johnny, was a disaster. This 30-year-old Frances had a husband and a daughter, who was at least 6 years old, or even 8! Wait, what?! What happened to her career as a top doctor? Did that never happen? Why, instead, was she a young mother? Why had she written a book about Dirty Dancing? Why had she totally lost touch with Johnny, the man she loved, and married a man with as much sex appeal as a box of cereal? Why had she given up on dancing except for lame salsa classes? I don’t believe that feminist, dance-entranced Baby would do any of that.
Johnny looked sad. She looked wistful. Instead of leaving viewers with the potential that Baby and Johnny had beaten all odds and found true love, we learned that they definitely had not. And in fact, we see that Baby had settled for a whole lot less in life. What a letdown!
This has to have been one of the most epic remake mistakes ever. Do you agree, HollywoodLifers? Let me know!