2004-03-19 / Community

MovieScope By Robert Snyder 'Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights' – Dirty Dud

MovieScope By Robert Snyder
'Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights' - Dirty Dud

Patrick Swayze must be struggling. He makes a couple of brief appearances in "Dirty Dancing: Havana Nights," the follow-up to his 1987 hit, "Dirty Dancing." He looks like he wishes he were somewhere else.

While Swayze is fine as he reproduces a few of his famous moves, it's not enough to generate the kind of fire that made the first film a smash. "Havana Nights' has the same low budget look that worked so well in the original, but that's where the similarity ends.

It's 1958 and supposedly uptight, rich white girl, Katey Miller (Romola Garai) has relocated to Cuba from the States with father Bert (John Slat tery), mother Jeannie (Sela Ward) and bratty sister Susie (Mika Boorem). Bert works for the Ford Motor Com pany and is rumored to have once been hot on the dance floor with mom. Still, when Katey catches the eye of sizzling busboy/street stud/dancer Javier (Die go Luna), her parents are less than thrilled.

Katey's unraveling is a bit too quick and, before long, she's transformed in to a professional dirty dancer. Much to her parents' amazement, she steals the show with Javier at the Hotel Nacion al vying to for the $5,000 prize in a tango-type contest. However, this is aborted when the Cuban Revolution intrudes, sending the scene into chaos, much like the familiar set piece in "Godfather II."

Directed by Guy Ferland, "Havana Nights" is rushed and choppy. The movie has nothing new to say and wants to come to its conclusion quick. As Javier, Luna is too boyish to be sophisticated, even as a street punk. Garai's Katey never seems naEFve enough. The location shots (with Puerto Rico as a stand-in for Cuba) are fuzzy and often out of focus.

At the theater, last week, my friend and I watched the screen with only one other patron. It appears that this "Dirty Dancing" is a dud. Rent the original.

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