This article contains information that could be considered too revealing according to our spoiler policy. Proceed with caution. You can't unsee it!Reason Repeats plot points from the 1988 movie of which this post's subject is a remake.
5 Reasons ABC's Dirty Dancing Remake Is Worth Watching, By Someone Who Seriously Loves The Original
And yes, there are at least 5 reasons not to. But let's be positive for one goddamn second, geez!
As we have known for at least a year and a half, ABC has remade Dirty Dancing, featuring Oscar nominee Abigail Breslin as Baby, and dancing ringer Colt Prattes as Johnny. Those who are opposed to such endeavours will find no shortage of reasons to skip it: the original is kind of perfect; that it's still set in the same historical era makes a remake doubly superfluous; now it's a musical, with cast members singing; yes, even the parents each get a number, and for some reason it's the same song sung twice; though this story adds an African-American love interest for Baby's sister Lisa, we're supposed to think there isn't one gay male concierge at a holiday camp where one of the "activities" is trying on wigs???; and Breslin's wardrobe is unflattering to a degree that borders on actual cruelty, making that aspect of the film less aspirational.
All that said, it's not the worst. If you're trying to figure out whether you should set aside three hours of your life to watch it...well, first of all, don't, that's way too long; record it and watch it afterward -- it's more like two hours and ten minutes without commercials. Second: this may help.
The Baby/Johnny story is essentially unchanged.
Admittedly, "essentially" is doing a lot of work in that sentence. There's a wraparound story, set in 1975, that kind of answers the question of what happened with their relationship, as if we weren't all either perfectly happy letting a brainy college student and a seasonally employed dance-teaching greaser get frozen for eternity on that Kellerman's dance floor without wondering how they navigated the logistics of their love affair after that fateful summer, or didn't work them out ourselves in breathless fanfic. (Also Baby's first line to Johnny here is "I carried his watermelon," which, no you fucking didn't, you carried a watermelon.)
But: in general, the beats of their story are unchanged; the scenes you remember are even set to the songs you remember -- a wise acknowledgement that while stories like these might look effortless, they're actually hard to do well, so you really shouldn't try that hard to improve upon them. The characters may not look like they used to, but they fall in love the same way.
Johnny is a fucking fox.
I can't really speak to how good Colt Prattes is as an actor.
Because this is how he looks shirtless in a lake, you're welcome.
The dancing is really great.
Even a big-time dance nerd like me could weary of Glee and the frenetic editing that disguised the fact that cast members had only kind of learned three numbers' worth of choreography in a week. But director Wayne Blair doesn't move the camera so much that we can't see what's going on -- particularly welcome given that this production's Penny is played by Nicole Scherzinger -- already a skilled dancer even before she won Season 10 of Dancing With The Stars. (If I'm being honest, actually, Scherzinger really upstages Breslin in all their scenes -- and I know Penny's supposed to be more skillful than Baby, but still: Oscar nomination or no, Breslin cannot compete with Scherzinger on star power.) Speaking of the dancing....
Johnny's sexiest dance isn't actually with Baby.
Katey Sagal plays Vivian Pressman, the bored sugar mama from whose assignations Baby distracts Johnny. Well before anything happens really happens between Johnny and Baby, though, Vivian sings "Fever" and dances with Johnny in a soft-S&M number so "vulgar" that it drives Baby's father Jake from the show room, but which is hotter than anything in Fifty Shades Of Grey by a factor of like a thousand. I realize that's not saying much. But seriously.
Why ABC didn't release the performance as a standalone preview video, I'm sure I don't know. Honestly, even if you can't stand to watch the whole thing, just turn it off after this; it's in the first hour.
Jake is a DILF.
Did I love the original movie's Jake? Well, he's played by Jerry Orbach, so YES, OF COURSE. But I didn't love him...like that.
Bruce Greenwood's Jake can get it. All of it. In fact, I should go and find out if he wants it.