Parents' Guide to

Dirty Dancing (2017)

By Emily Ashby, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Remake can't recapture original magic but still entertains.

Movie NR 2017 130 minutes
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Fans of the Patrick Swayze and Jennifer Grey original needn't worry that this remake will eclipse the first (and best) film in the eyes of viewers who indulge in both. Remaking a beloved classic like this one is risky business, and for the most part, Dirty Dancing does well by its updates while still staying true to the 1987 guilty pleasure. But the chemistry between Breslin and Prattes is minimal, their dancing is sluggish and a bit clunky, and the story drags in parts. What's more, scenes that were campy in the '80s are even more so now, despite the modernization. Often the Houseman family's subplots are more engaging than Johnny and Baby's slow-moving relationship as Lisa searches for a romantic interest and the girls' parents wrestle with the uncertainties of their marriage.

So what's good about this Dirty Dancing? Most of the dance scenes that don't partner Johnny and Baby are fun to watch, and the rebooted soundtrack is a true delight. The themes that emerge from the story remain relevant today, including evolving race relations (the movie is set in the '60s, so expect deep divides), changing gender roles, and socioeconomic prejudice. It's also full of affirming messages about love in many forms -- loving devotion between friends, interracial love, new romance just taking hold, and love that's conquered everything working against it. The bottom line? This version isn't the stuff of legend, but it still has merit for those who give it a chance.

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