banner image

:: Razzle Dazzle

The idea strikes Mr Jonathan almost too late: what his dance troupe really needs is some razzle dazzle. And, despite a promising idea and a solid cast, so it was with the film.

Mr Jonathan (Ben Miller) is a dance teacher whose vision runs far beyond the samba. His Dance Academy teaches students that choreography can be socially relevant, whether the cause be animal liberation or the emancipation of women in Afghanistan. Yet as he prepares his dance troupe for the legendary Sanosafe Troupe Spectacular – the undisputed highlight of the dance comp circuit – it becomes clear that not everyone shares his agenda. His arch rival, reigning champion Miss Elizabeth (Jane Hall), whose own Academy has not progressed beyond pink leotards and concrete hairspray, despises his innovation. Stage mother Justine (Kerry Armstrong) is only interested in whether daughter Tenille (Shayni Notelovitz) has the starring role.

The journey is enjoyable, yet fails to truly entertain until the final scene – the Sanosafe Troupe Spectacular itself. A cameo by Paul Mercurio, intended as an ironic allusion to the grandeur of Strictly Ballroom, instead provides a comparison that is not all together favourable for the present film. All this is redeemed somewhat by the acting. The child actors are surprisingly convincing, while Kerry Armstrong proves once again her amazing adaptability. She gives great complexity to what could easily have been a very one dimensional character: the obnoxiously competitive parent.

Despite its flaws, fans of the mockumentary format will almost undoubtedly enjoy Razzle Dazzle. Entertain it does. Yet razzle dazzle it does not.