Take the Lead
A ballroom instructor (Antonio Banderas) volunteers to teach dancing at an inner-city high school and gets saddled with all the misfits the school has given up on. “Inspired by true events …” Yeah, right; inspired by To Sir, with Love and Flashdance is more like it. We’ve seen all this believe-in-yourself-and-follow-your-dream stuff before. Robert Ivison’s flashy editing is a constant irritant; Ivison makes mincemeat of the dancing of those who can do it, and, what’s worse, he fails to conceal the shortcomings of those who can’t. Sincere acting helps—including Alfre Woodard as the school’s cynical principal and breakout performances from Rob Brown and Yaya DaCosta as the two most troubled students—but a bogus, trumped-up “inspirational” ending goes on forever and all but ruins everything.