Saturday, November 12, 2022

Ask Me to Dance: Movie Review

A lot of questionable decisions in an unfunny rom-com.

Jack and Jill, two strangers, separately meet a crazy old lady who tells them that they’re going to find the love of their life by New Year’s Eve. Ask Me to Dance is a movie I wanted to like a lot more than I actually did. But here’s the thing, Jack and Jill, two grown adults, supposedly sane adults, both take this crazy old lady seriously, like dead seriously. Suddenly they’re both signing up for every dating service out there, and more than half of the movie is two people going on really bad dates.   2022

Directed by: Tom Malloy

Screenplay by: Tom Malloy

Starring: Tom Malloy, Briana Evigan

Not unlike the 90s John Cusack and Kate Beckinsale romantic comedy Serendipity, Jack (Tom Molloy) and Jill (Briana Evigan) are soulmates who are meant for each other but just keep missing each other. The serendipitous or destiny theme of Jack and Jill works well. Throughout the movie, the audience can see how well the two pair up based on how close they come to meeting every day.

The opening scene is at a dance club, Jill is dancing with her gay friend Patrick (Mario Cantone, who continues to be typecast but continues to show why he’s typecast since he’s a lot of fun as the gay best friend). Jill’s a good dancer, but it’s just something she does as a hobby. Meanwhile Jack’s pulled up on stage under the guise as a nerd who can’t dance, but then wow’s the crowd since he’s actually a former ballroom dancing teacher, now just does it as a hobby. Jill wants to meet Jack, but she’s one minute too late.

The rest of the movie is random jokes about side characters while Jack and Jill continue to be one minute too late. Their friends try setting them up but Jack’s best friend, Ron, is a moron, and Jill's best friend, Amy, loves him because he’s hot. There’s a sub-plot involving Amy’s single mother and Ron’s single father, but all the jokes fall flat because we don’t know these characters, we’ve never met them before. There are a lot of jokes like that, things that are obviously supposed to be funny, but they’re from a script of a different movie, so the movie we’re actually watching is a bit of a mess.

Jack and Jill’s disastrous dates are also highly exaggerated. For most of the characters it’s hard to believe they’re humans who can function in society, so the jokes feel very forced. There also isn’t enough dancing. While most of Jack’s and Jill’s dates eventually end up with one or both of them on the dance floor, their partners are ridiculously bad dancers, so we’re not actually watching good dancing.

I really wanted to like Jack and Jill. Two sweet and mature adults who are perfectly matched for each other, but then they take a random crazy person seriously and the comedy of the movie just doesn’t work. Some of it is funny, but a lot of it isn’t, and while I do think Jack and Jill deserve better, they make a lot of questionable decisions.